06.03.23 | 3 min
Training for the labor market of the future
Prof. Dr. Barbara Bader has been Rector of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts since December. We asked her about her priorities and the relationship between the HSLU and Lucerne as a business location.
How have you experienced Lucerne so far?
Spontaneously, two characteristics come to mind: open-hearted and cost-conscious.
What makes Lucerne attractive as a university location?
The inaugural visits during my first 100 days have shown me that the sponsoring cantons of the HSLU want to be innovative research and education locations. The density of renowned companies and first-class education, research and development is impressive. Lucerne is also focusing on digital transformation and sustainability. Both, in my opinion, important topics of our time. And being close to the issues of the day, the needs of business, society, politics and culture, drives both the HSLU and me personally.
Why is this proximity so important for the HSLU?
We want to move - ourselves and our environment. The constant dialogue with stakeholders is crucial for this. Numerous further developments at the HSLU can be traced back to impulses from business and society. The best example of this is our Department of Computer Science, which was founded in Rotkreuz in 2016 due to rapid IT developments and the shortage of specialists and researchers. Currently, we are examining the launch of a focus on health together with the XUND Health Center on behalf of our sponsoring cantons. Here, too, we follow a supply logic: In the wake of the nursing initiative, we want to participate in combating the shortage of skilled workers in Central Switzerland and, in addition, contribute to the practical, professional development of nursing staff at the interfaces with existing HSLU offerings - this includes, for example, medical technology but also health management or digital health.
What other socially and economically important topics are currently on the agenda at HSLU?
The topic of sustainability is very important. It is our mission to provide sustainable and future-oriented impulses in education, research and continuing education and to develop corresponding products. We want to teach our students to think and act in an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable manner. With this in mind, we will soon be launching a new MAS "Net Zero in Business" and a bachelor's degree program in "International Sustainable Tourism". In addition, it is important to exemplify sustainability in the university's operations. The new Horw campus for our Department of Engineering & Architecture and the PHLU will set new standards here. It would also be worthwhile to develop a sustainable mobility concept together with the canton and municipalities, e.g. a coherent bicycle network linking all locations of the university, the PHLU and the HSLU. Around 14,000 students and 3,600 employees would benefit from this.
How does the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts contribute to the attractiveness of Lucerne as a canton and business location?
Basically: With everything we do. By that I mean our education and training programs, but also our considerable research achievements. With over 60 practice-oriented degree programs, HSLU is the largest educational institution in Central Switzerland; around a quarter of our students come from the canton of Lucerne. More than half of our students stay in the region after graduation; as sought-after specialists, they bring fresh impetus and up-to-date knowledge to local companies.
You also mentioned continuing education and research.
Yes, both strengthen Central Switzerland as a location for innovation and business. The HSLU offers around 550 continuing education programs, from specialist courses to executive MBAs. Around 12,000 people benefit from these every year. Life-long learning is more important today than ever before, both for individual professional development and for the future viability of companies. This is illustrated by the following thought experiment: Students who graduate from HSLU in 2023 are expected to remain in the workforce until 2065. Whether their original career field will still exist then is difficult to predict. What we can say with certainty is that the requirements will be different than they are today. We therefore consciously design our training and continuing education programs in exchange with both alumni and business partners. I would also like to point out the large number of successful research and development projects between the HSLU and companies in the region. Especially for companies without their own R&D departments, valuable innovation dynamics and synergy effects are created here. The transfer of knowledge and technology from universities to industry is very well established in Lucerne.
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