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Schindler worldwide

Papieri Cham: Writing a new chapter

A former paper factory in Cham, Switzerland, is being transformed into a sprawling residential and office complex with sustainability at its core. Our apprentices have been instrumental in the success of this project.

It’s impossible to miss it. Spanning 11 hectares, the Papieri site in Cham, where Cham Group produced paper for 360 years, is now being transformed into apartments that will house 2 000 residents and workspaces for 1 000 office workers by 2035.

We’re supplying all the elevators – 87 in total – for this fusion of treasured historical buildings and spectacular new builds. And our apprentices are in on the fun, too.

Supporting our youth

Projects like this one are not only an opportunity to showcase the wonders of modernization and our expertise in all things elevators. They also help us to advance another goal we’re passionate about: supporting youth employment. 

We’re training around 320 apprentices in Switzerland alone, including 100 elevator installation engineers. And that’s only in Switzerland: we run 24 vocational training programs globally, spread across Europe, the Americas and Asia. In 2021, we had more than 900 apprentices in training.

For our apprentices, projects like the Papieri Site one represent a formidable opportunity to apply and expand their knowledge – and to round out their theoretical knowledge with practical experience.  

Hands-on work

This kind of hands-on training allows our employees to develop skills they’re not able to develop in a classroom environment. "I love how we apprentices are trained right there on the construction site," says Micha Grünenfelder, a 19-year-old third-year apprentice.

Hugo Halter, who supervises our apprentices on this project, has only great things to say about this cohort. "I am very proud of their great work." And he’s apparently not the only one. "We’ve received only very positive feedback about their performance." Lukkas Muggli, in his early twenties, completed his apprenticeship two years ago. He’s now working full-time with us. "As a trained elevator installation engineer, I can pass on my knowledge to the next generation. I like that, it gives me a sense of responsibility."

Sustainable all round

There’s also the pride of being part of a construction project that is at the forefront of sustainability.  The Papieri Cham development has been fashioned to be compatible with the "2 000-watt society", built around an innovative, CO2-neutral renewable energy system.

Installing energy-efficient elevators is of course one way for us to help advance the sustainability of this project. But we’ve also indulged in good old-fashioned modernization – because reinvigorating old equipment with retrofit solutions is another way to limit our impact on the environment.

In the paper factory’s old administrative building, elevators dating back to the 1960s had not been used for several years. Instead of ripping out the old elevators and replacing them with new ones, we’ve brought the old elevators back into service. They’ll continue to service the building for another ten years until the administrative building undergoes a full renovation.

18-year-old Livio Stocker, a third-year apprentice, exudes pride when talking about the work he’s conducted on-site.  "The interplay between mechanics and electrical engineering fascinates me," he says.

When I look back, I think: ‘Wow, you have now assembled an entire elevator’.