Oldest apprentice in Switzerland

from Syria - successfully completes vocational training.

Najiba Zadozaharo is 54 years old, originally from Syria and is currently completing her apprenticeship as a textile technician EBA at the STF Swiss Textile College. Her training company is KoKoTé in Schattdorf/UR, a manufactory that produces high-quality bags and accessories from sustainable materials. At the same time, KoKoTé is an education and work integration project for older refugees.

In 2015, Najiba Zadozaharo and her three children came from Syria to Switzerland with the help of the UN. Here, as a single mother in a foreign country with a foreign language, she had to find her way around and start from scratch. Through mutual contacts and the Swiss Red Cross, she became aware of KoKoTé. Here she was able to work as a seamstress and continue her education. Thanks to her determination and quick learning of the German language, she started her apprenticeship as a textile technician EBA two years ago - as the oldest apprentice in Switzerland! And she started this vocational training at the same time as her daughter, who completed an apprenticeship as a detail specialist.

Challenges and motivation

How does it feel to be an over-50-year-old woman doing an apprenticeship with young students? "My fellow apprentices call me mummy and that makes me happy," says Najiba Zadozaharo with a laugh. The most difficult part of the apprenticeship for her was learning the German language, but learning the technical basics was no problem at all. She received a lot of learning support from all sides: from her learning coach, the production manager and the person responsible for vocational training in the factory, as well as from the entire KoKoTé team. The good atmosphere in the factory also contributed to the high level of motivation. "We all get along very well, even though we come from different cultures. The KoKoTé team is super! The only challenge is to sew new bags. But only at the beginning," she says with a wink. It is important for her to have a perspective and a goal. She has already almost reached one big goal: an apprenticeship diploma in Switzerland. She will continue to work for KoKoTé and is already
and is already looking forward to taking on more responsibility.


Experience at vocational school
Najiba Zadozaharo attended vocational school at the STF Swiss Textile College in Zurich. Training to become a textile technician EBA is carried out on behalf of and in cooperation with the Swiss Textiles Association. Both the association and the school are keen to ensure that people from other cultural backgrounds and with eventful histories have the opportunity to obtain a recognised qualification in Switzerland.
to gain a foothold in Switzerland with a recognised apprenticeship diploma. KoKoTé as an apprenticeship company makes an important contribution to this with its education and work integration project. Najiba Zadozaharo is a prime example of integration. "It was a pleasure to have Najiba in the class with her infectiously cheerful nature, her ambition and her quick grasp. She was a real enrichment for everyone," says Melanie Hollenstein, STF vocational school teacher of the Textile Technician EBA course.

About KoKoTé

KoKoTé produces high-quality bags and accessories in Schattdorf in the canton of Uri. They are made by refugees from all over the world. They are designed by the renowned designer Carsten Jörgensen in close cooperation with the employees. KoKoTé pursues the idea of intercultural exchange and integration through work and education. KoKoTé, a project of the non-profit foundation Association Equilibre, was founded by the entrepreneurial couple Franz Huber and Yvonne Herzog from Uri with the aim of actively contributing to improving the work and education situation of older refugees (>26) in Switzerland. Studies show that there are still too few sustainable integration projects for this age group. Linked to this
is linked to the medium-term goal of enabling them to lead an independent and self-determined life in Switzerland without social assistance.

About the STF Swiss Textile College

The STF Swiss Textile School has been THE centre of excellence in the textile, fashion and lifestyle sector in Switzerland since 1881. The school stands for sustainable educational competence covering the entire life cycle of textile, fashion and lifestyle products and offers numerous training and further education courses, from basic training to a Master's degree.

You can also find Najiba's story here: https://www.srf.ch/.../8370f58...

Ursina Wirz, Media Spokesperson KoKoTé, hello@ursinawirz.com, 078 843 915
Olivia Kotsopoulos, Media Spokesperson STF, olivia.kotsopoulos@stf.ch, 079 276 30 27


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