The "labour market boat", a joint venture of EURES BODENSEE and the Ravensburg Employment Agency, attracted a huge crowd: during the trip between Friedrichshafen and Ravensburg, over 300 visitors took advantage of the opportunity to gather information on job and study openings in the region surrounding Lake Constance. "The comprehensive range of advice on offer was a unique opportunity and a great idea", enthused a visitor from Lindau.
On board the motorboat "Graf Zeppelin" there were also a good dozen EURES advisers, who gave competent information about the many employment opportunities in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria and Germany. The specially trained experts were able to answer fundamental questions related to living and working conditions in each country, for example on health insurance and pensionschemes or on tax legislation. In addition, they provided addresses of job vacancies.
The demand for information remained high, as the Swiss EURES advisers confirmed: "Visitors' questions were mainly focussed on job prospects, earning opportunities and matters related to health insurance". EURES adviser Kevin Hedinger from the St Gall Employment Agency was above all struck by the fact that mainly older skilled jobseekers showed an interest in working in Switzerland. During the trip between Friedrichshafen and Romanshorn, EURES advisers from Vorarlberg, Germany and Liechtenstein were also faced with similar enquiries and problems.
At a press conference, EURES President Johannes Rutz, head of the St Gall Employment Agency, pointed out that the labour market boat bore the proud name Graf Zeppelin. The Zeppelin, this unique cigar-shaped flying machine, aptly symbolised the free movement of persons in Europe. "Just as the Zeppelin overcomes with ease all borders and obstacles, the free movement of persons should also be able to evolve without hindrances," added Rutz.
Speaking about EURES BODENSEE, the President remarked that the cross-border partnership was under an obligation to provide information as well as to procure job and study opportunities. These tasks, he said, were fulfilled "with our five-star service":
1. Cross-border brochures for employees and employers;
2. Specialist conferences on living and working conditions in the region surrounding Lake Constance;
3. Personal and virtual networks (e.g. EURES advisers as contact persons, our own homepage Arbeitsmarkt Bodensee);
4. Monitoring of the labour market as a statistical basis;
5. Cross-border information days, like today's.
Gabriele Kreiss, chairperson of the Ravensburg Employment Agency management, explained that, owing to the increasing demand, services on the labour market boat had been extended. "For the first time, future students can find contact persons on the boat with a knowledge of study places throughout the Bodensee region."
Those interested in a university place could thus visit the entrance deck of the Graf Zeppelin, where they were met by a wide range of specialists: course and careers advisers from Canton Thurgau, an education and careers adviser from the BIFO in Vorarlberg, a careers adviser for secondary school leavers from Ravensburg or representatives of the International University of Lake Constance and the Kempten University of Applied Sciences. Another innovation, according to Gabriele Kreiss, was information on interesting exchange programs for students, such as "xchange" and "Go.for.europe".
Unfortunately, there will be no Labour market boat in 2013. The next Labour market boat will take place in spring 2014.