From Quatit, Eritrea to Ypsomed in Burgdorf, Switzerland

Swiss German instead of Tigrinya, pasta instead of injera – a new culture and different circumstances. Million Hailemariam came to Switzerland as a refugee from Eritrea in 2014 at the age of 15. This summer he will complete his apprenticeship at Ypsomed as a plastics technologist EFZ (Swiss Certificate of Competence). His background, his development and his experiences.

Ypsomed promotes diversity
Million Hailemarian at work at our facilities, he will graduate as plastics technologist this summer.

Million Hailemariam originates from Quatit, a small village in Eritrea. At the young age of 14, he fled with his family, first to Ethiopia, then to Sudan, to Libya and finally to Switzerland via Italy. Million spent his first days in Switzerland at the Bässlergut asylum centre in Basle. After spending a month in Basle, the journey continued to Langnau, where Million was able to apply for asylum.

Education and culture

Million took his first tentative steps with the new language at the BSV in Konolfingen, where he eagerly began to learn German. During a pre-vocational school year (BPA), Million was offered the opportunity to apply for a variety of apprenticeships. Language barriers prevented him from finding an apprenticeship immediately. To speed up this process and become more acquainted with the German language, he signed up with the Junge Bühne Bern, a theatre company. This involvement helped him greatly to improve his German language skills and thus also his integration.

Apprenticeship and Swiss German at Ypsomed

Following the recommendation of a BPA counsellor, Million applied to Ypsomed and was invited for two days to get to know the company in Lochbach in the production department. This invitation proved to be a great match, not only for Ypsomed, but also for Million, and he was given the opportunity to complete his apprenticeship at Ypsomed. His career at Ypsomed began in Lochbach, where he worked during his first year of apprenticeship. There he also learned Swiss German through playful exchanges with his co-workers, which he now speaks fluently albeit with a mix of several Swiss dialects. He then went on to the technical centre in Brunnmatt, where he will complete his apprenticeship this summer.

Diversity and quality

Million would very much like to continue working at Ypsomed after his training. We too are interested in employing our apprentices once they have completed their apprenticeship. This way, both quality and knowledge are retained within the company and the apprentices are rewarded for their commitment during their training. Milllion’s story shows that diversity is always welcome at Ypsomed. We promote diversity and sustainability. This is the only approach to ensuring a healthy and fruitful development of our company.

We wish Million Hailemariam every success in his final apprenticeship exams and thank him for his exciting story.

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