What is the aim of the programme?
“Through SeitenWechsel, we provide an unusual and sustainable form of personal development for managers and other staff in private sector companies. SeitenWechsel aims to strengthen Corporate Social Responsibility, sensitize company employees to social issues and foster civic engagement. It takes the form of a supervised internship during which participants work for five consecutive days, playing an active role in, for example, rehabilitation clinics, burnout clinics, care homes, psychiatric institutions, children’s homes, or asylum homes. They cope with different challenging situations in real life. Each appointment has a specific goal and is subsequently assessed.”
Participants report a very broad range of outcomes of the internship, e.g. expanded horizon, respect for others, recognition, open communication, higher conflict management skills, or ability to be patient and grateful.
How is the Life Skills approach used in the project?
“The participants train their social, emotional, and communication skills. They learn from professionals how to lead difficult conversations, how to deal with stress, how to set boundaries, how to make efficient use of resources, and cope with unexpected situations. In addition, they train their intercultural skills, widen their perspective, improve flexibility, increase their tolerance, and reduce their prejudices. The participants are confronted with the social issues of society and get a chance to reflect on their values and life priorities. Some of them stay in contact with the social institutions after the internship and volunteer.”
What is the impact of the programme?
Until now more than 3300 participants from almost 50 companies took part in the SeitenWechsel internship. SeitenWechsel cooperates with 140 institutions throughout Switzerland. Patriotische Gesellschaft in Hamburg took over this idea in 2000 and is providing internships in several regions in Germany. Participants report a very broad range of outcomes of the internship, e.g. expanded horizon, respect for others, recognition, open communication, higher conflict management skills, or ability to be patient and grateful. They become aware of social issues and problems in society and increase their mindfulness, empathy, and understanding of human nature in their leadership role.”
Category: National projects
Focus: Corporate Social responsibility and civic engagement
Life Skills approach: unconventional training for corporate managers
Text: Aizhana KhasanovaPhotos: SeitenWechsel