An ideal location
Western Switzerland consists of the cantons of Berne, Fribourg, Geneva, Jura, Neuchâtel, Valais and Vaud, and occupies a central, strategic position at the geographic, technological and economic heart of Europe. It has particularly good connections to the main international and European centres.
A multilingual region
Over 25% of the Swiss population – some 2.8 million people – live in western Switzerland. They mainly speak French and German, with the cantons of Geneva, Jura, Neuchâtel and Vaud being French-speaking and those of Berne, Fribourg and Valais being bilingual (French/German).
An international outlook
Although the region is not part of the European Union, the many bilateral agreements it has made with all its neighbours ensure that it has the same open political and economic outlook. Outside Europe, it has concluded several bilateral agreements with countries such as the United States and Japan.
Security and stability, Switzerland’s key words
Traditionally neutral and democratically organised, enjoying a stable political system and a leading position on the international stage, western Switzerland is one of the most secure places in which to settle and build a long-term career.
According to international rankings, Switzerland’s investment per inhabitant in telecom equipment is among the highest in the world. Despite the challenging topography its road, rail and air links are excellent.
The country of choice for businesses
Western Switzerland is consolidating its role as a major economic centre (there are over 570 multinational companies in Geneva alone) and offers a unique range of expertise which is acknowledged worldwide. The region is home to many major international NGOs including WTO, ICRC, UEFA, CERN, WHO, and WWF. In addition, the tax and legal system gives a clear long-term advantage to companies that set up their operations in western Switzerland.
An economic system that delivers
The Swiss economy is famous for its excellent performance. Highly-specialised economic players, companies with impeccable credentials, international groups, in addition to a very liberal policy, stable purchasing power (thanks to consistently low inflation) and relatively low-cost finance all help companies to prosper.
Unique education system and well-qualified workforce
The Swiss education system is known for its quality and for the high standards required. Schools offer 2 main types of education:
- An academic education
- A more vocationally-oriented education
The academic route, pursued at a gymnasium culminates in a qualification known as the maturité fédérale, which gives access to university courses. In vocational education, an apprenticeship (practical training in the workplace for 3 to 4 years, plus theoretical courses, leading to a certificat fédéral de capacité (Federal Certificate of Competence, CFC)) may be supplemented by a further qualification, the maturité professionnelle, which gives access to technical schools (écoles techniques) or universities of applied sciences (Hautes Ecoles Spécialisées, HES), the latter being university-level institutions. The complementary nature of the system ensures the availability of a well-qualified workforce, a key factor in the successful development of Switzerland’s businesses.