Zurich offers fast-track course to become a tram driver in 26 days

Zurich offers fast-track course to become a tram driver in 26 days

With such a significant amount of responsibility, you would think training to become a tram driver in Canton Zurich would take months or even years to complete. Now, those who fancy a new job alongside their studies can become a tram “pilot” in Zurich after just 26 days of training.

Swiss city offers fast-track training to become a tram driver

“There has never been anything like it,” the Zurich Transport Authority (VBZ) wrote on their website. “For the first time, students can take the wheel [of a tram],” in what the VBZ described as “the most exciting student job in Switzerland.”

The plan is for students in higher education or university to work as tram drivers on 10 to 20 percent part-time work contracts. Instead of the usual 43 days of training, the VBZ is offering a 26-day course to learn the ropes, starting in August before the start of term.

26-day intensive tram driving course offered to Swiss students

Students will be paid 6.240 Swiss francs to attend the course, and will then be paid 30 to 35 Swiss francs an hour to operate the trams. Florian Schrodt, head of recruitment at the VBZ, said the idea was designed to help engage young people at an early stage in their careers, especially as companies like VBZ have struggled to attract new workers amid the current staff shortages in Switzerland.

The students are expected to operate the trams on Line 12 between Stettbach and Zurich Airport and Line 10 between Zurich Main Station and the airport. The VBZ is looking for three applicants, but has promised more job opportunities in the future. Schrodt confirmed that the new recruits will mainly be used to relieve tram drivers during busy periods like events and national holidays

Concerns raised over the safety of young inexperienced drivers

However, concern has been raised by the union for public transport, VBZ-VPOD, who said that they were not informed about the scheme until it was reported in the media. Spokesperson Duri Beer explained, “I don't think anyone has reservations about students as colleagues. However, we worry about the job profile and the quality and safety of their work.”

Responding to the shorter training period, Schrodt said, "We don't compromise on safety. The students learn to drive Cobra trams - just one type of tram. In addition, they will only operate on two lines. In this way, the training can be condensed without any problems.”

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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