Apprentices Are Specially Challenged Mentally

Many young people suffer from psychological problems. This makes a stable environment in the apprenticeship all the more important.

Finally, no more going to school every day! Some young people can hardly wait. But at the same time, starting an apprenticeship is a time of great uncertainty for them. Will I be able to cope with the work? Will I meet the requirements?

One in five Do not Complete their Apprenticeship

According to the Federal Statistical Office, a large majority of apprentices successfully complete their apprenticeship. However, around 20% of apprentices experience premature termination of their apprenticeship contract. This may be due to lack of interest or lack of aptitude. "Nevertheless, the influence of psychological problems on apprenticeship dropouts should not be underestimated," writes Health Promotion Switzerland.

"The influence of psychological problems on apprenticeship dropouts should not be underestimated."

Health Promotion Switzerland

Why do psychological problems often occur among learners in particular? The study "Dealing with Mentally Distressed Apprentices" explores the reasons.

Learners Are in a Sensitive Transition Phase

Apprentices at the beginning of apprenticeship are in a phase of life in which they face multiple challenges. They are not only in transition from school to working life, but also from adolescence to adulthood. They are "physically adult - socially still a child," writes Health Promotion Switzerland. Their physical appearance creates expectations in the outside world that they cannot (yet) live up to. This makes them particularly vulnerable to crises.

At the same time, mental disorders often develop very early. Around half before the age of 15. So quite a few apprentices are already psychologically burdened.

Many Problematic Apprenticeships

The vocational trainers interviewed for the study also noted many problems and conspicuous features in their apprentices. A high level of distractibility and difficulties in achieving consistent performance, setting priorities and organizing oneself were mentioned particularly frequently. There is also often a lack of concentration and the apprentices are not very resilient.

Only 41% of the apprenticeships are unproblematic from the perspective of the vocational trainers. In 33% of cases, the problems can be solved. For more than 26%, however, they remain until the end. More than one third of these learners drop out of the apprenticeship.

Young People Benefit from a Supportive Environment

40 to 50% of apprentices with problems are at least temporarily in treatment for mental health problems. That is good and right. However, according to Health Promotion Switzerland, a supportive environment is just as important.

In addition to the family, the friends of the apprentices also have a clearly positive influence on the course of apprenticeship - especially in connection with the use of addictive substances.

The vocational trainers themselves contribute a great deal to the success of an apprenticeship. However, according to the study, they often feel insecure and left alone when it comes to psychological issues. In about half of the persistently problematic apprenticeships, they do not seek professional support.

Effects on the Whole Life

Until now, there were hardly any contact points that vocational trainers could have turned to. However, Health Promotion Switzerland has now created the "Friendly Workspace Apprentice" service. It offers comprehensive information and helpful tips.

It cannot be emphasized enough how important it is for learners to overcome their problems, or even crises, during apprenticeship. After all, it is during this phase of life that the course is set for the rest of their lives. Dropping out of an apprenticeship and the bad experiences and feelings associated with it can jeopardize a professional career at an early age. So it pays to react in good time!


Hansjörg Schmid

Hansjörg Schmid

More on work and health