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Old 14.03.2020, 21:18
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Civil Engineer from EU in Switzerland?

Hello everyone,
I am looking for opinions / insights / recommendations regarding first Civil Engineering experience in Switzerland for someone (my girlfriend) with some experience already (3+ years in Polish / Swedish market as a Structural Engineer, Master's in Civil Engineering in Poland with straight A's) but no fluency in French (more or less A1-A2 level) nor German (none).

The reason I am asking is that there are completely no positive responses (not even an interview) from Swiss companies around Geneva Lake even though she applied to a really lot of places.

To my understanding, all / most EU countries follow some standardized norms but is Switzerland also among them? If not, how big the gap is? Does one need some kind of specific certification / re-certification to work in civil engineering here? If so, how difficult would it be to obtain it?

What would be the steps to land a first job or even unpaid internship (we can get by for some time) in this field of engineering? Perhaps you know some particular companies?

I am particularly interested in Vaud / Geneve regions (I am working in Lausanne now) though others are also an option.
Many thanks in advance!
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Old 14.03.2020, 21:37
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Re: Civil Engineer from EU in Switzerland?

She would need to have her qualifications recognised by SERI for a start.

https://www.sbfi.admin.ch/sbfi/en/ho...rofession.html

I suspect she would also need to improve her French to at least B2 if not higher.
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Old 15.03.2020, 15:36
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Re: Civil Engineer from EU in Switzerland?

Given the recognition by SERI and French at acceptable level, how difficult would it be then?
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Old 15.03.2020, 19:32
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Re: Civil Engineer from EU in Switzerland?

You(r girlfriend) do(es) not need any recognition to work as architect, so this is not the reason.



You need some kind of recognition in six cantons (Geneva, Vaud, Neuchatel, Fribourg, Luzern, Ticino) in order to sign building permit applications, but this is responsibility of project leader or head architect

you can read it in this document:
https://www.sbfi.admin.ch/dam/sbfi/e...rchidekt_e.pdf




- local language is not always needed, but most of the time that means a lower position
- Swiss architects get tons of work applications from all around the word, so they skip most of them
- she should learn the Swiss way of applications, I am writing you for german part, I do not know if it is the same for french side:


- just a short introduction in an email
- CV
- Motivation letter (this part is usually written directly into an email, but not here)

- Portfolio (because we are architects) max 10 (8,5) mb, depends of office


She should boost her language abilities, this the reality in Switzerland.
She should give them Swiss address and also Swiss phone number if it's possible.
In motivation level she should mention she is learning the local language and that she really really loves it. And that she wants to work here because Swiss architects are the smartest architect on word (we already know architects are the smartest people).

It's better not to have an email address with national tag like .pl in your case.
btw she should get a job as junior architect in few months.
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Old 15.03.2020, 20:48
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Re: Civil Engineer from EU in Switzerland?

Thanks @nejc for your insight! She is not an architect but a civil engineer / structural engineer so I guess this: https://www.sbfi.admin.ch/dam/sbfi/e...ngenieur_e.pdf applies to her field. I guess the application part applies anyway.
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Old 15.03.2020, 23:17
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Re: Civil Engineer from EU in Switzerland?

I think it's the same:
 In the cantons of Geneva, Vaud, and Neuchatel, an authorisation is required in order to work in this profession. Authorisation is granted on the basis of proof of specific professional qualifications.
In these cantons, authorisation to work in this profession is set forth in spatial planning legislation. It is therefore required in order to sign building permit applications. If the civil engineer does not intend to sign building permit applications, e.g. because he/she works as an employee
of a civil engineering firm and the building plans are signed by the employer or by another civil engineer holding such authorisation, therefore working in the profession is possible without the need for recognition (i.e. profession is not regulated).
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Old 16.03.2020, 11:26
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Re: Civil Engineer from EU in Switzerland?

Hello, welcome to the forum.

I studied civil engineering some years ago, later I specialized in hydrogeology. I work for a large engineering consulting company (AFRY). Right now the company in under reorganization, in a few weeks the new and unknown name of AFRY will replace the AF-Consult, Pöyry, AF-Toscano and IFEC brands in Switzerland. In such large organization people arrive and leave all the time, so there's always open positions and offices all around Switzerland. https://afry.com/en/jobs

In general you need to master the local language, however lots of engineering companies have contracts around the world. I got hired because of the other languages I know, even though the office is located in Baden (Aargau) and I knew zero German at the time.

So, there are chances. Ask
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Old 17.03.2020, 22:10
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Re: Civil Engineer from EU in Switzerland?

I appreciate I do not understand your situation completely so I tentatively want to share an observation with you.

I know there are so many opportunities for construction/engineering in the Republic of Ireland. It is a sellers (ie employee's) market there and the quality of living is very good. The local employers are really struggling to find candidates due to a significant reduction in the number of qualified candidates leaving university in the years after the Celtic Tiger tanked. This won't last for ever but it is definitely a hot market for your skills.

Good luck!
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Old 17.03.2020, 22:26
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Re: Civil Engineer from EU in Switzerland?

The gf presumably wants to get a job here so she can be with her bf and you recommend looking for jobs in Ireland.
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Old 21.03.2020, 12:11
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Re: Civil Engineer from EU in Switzerland?

Thanks for the feedback people! Now I kind of have rough understanding of the situation - it's lack of French language fluency. This kind of makes sense as most people outside of the company I'm working for barely speak English, I hoped Civil Engineering sector is similar to IT sector but it doesn't seem to be the case.
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