About EDUCA SWISS

EDUCA SWISS is a Swiss foundation that promotes and finances education. We help motivated individuals to achieve their educational project, on the one hand by providing free assistance in the planning and budgeting of their professional education project, and on the other hand by arranging student loans at favourable interest rates.

EDUCA SWISS’ Vision and Commitment

We wish to create opportunities together because we are convinced that every person should be able to achieve their education project. Education not only strengthens the national economy, but also promotes a healthy society. Money in the form of a student loan creates a lasting impact, increases the graduation rate and can be used again after repayment. Our guiding principles are encouragement, commitment and professionalism.

Team

Simon Merki

Managing Director

Simon Merki

Managing Director

What brought you to EDUCA SWISS?

I started studying international relations with the desire to work in development cooperation. However, I quickly realised that what I was learning was too far removed from the concrete situation of each individual. So I switched to the “front line” and completed a degree in social work at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences. At the same time, I worked mainly with young adults. This taught me a lot about the importance of intrinsic motivation and people’s needs. Almost every day I asked myself: What can I do to help my counterpart take control of their situation and, ideally, improve it? I am a firm believer in the concept of helping people to help themselves.

Before I was allowed to take over the management of EDUCA SWISS, I gained important experience working with volunteers and coaching other social workers. My profile was therefore an ideal match for the existing expertise of the team and the Foundation Board, which is heavily involved in operations. Source and more at: https://www.fundraiso.ch/de/blog/interview-mit-simon-merki-geschaeftsfuehrer-der-stiftung-educa-swiss

What do you like to do best when you’re not working for EDUCA SWISS?

Camping trips with my daughter (1 year old) and my partner, preferably on unknown trails somewhere in the middle of nowhere. And if there’s not enough time, walks in the countryside.

Christina Zöller

Executive Assistant

Christina Zöller

Executive Assistant

What was your most inspiring experience at EDUCA SWISS?

So many! But above all, the positive feedback and letters of thanks to the entire EDUCA SWISS team from candidates who have successfully completed their training.

What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not working for EDUCA SWISS?

My favourite thing is to be out in nature with my Lakeland terrier Fina, whatever the weather. Whether on foot, by bike, on a stand-up paddleboard or with snowshoes.

What role has education played for you personally?

It’s important to me to continue my education after my studies, to learn new things and to develop myself. And that’s why I really enjoy working at EDUCA SWISS, because it gives me the opportunity to do just that.

Imelda Beer

Imelda Beer

Volunteer Team Manager

Imelda Beer

Imelda Beer

Volunteer Team Manager

What has been your most unusual job so far?

Purserette on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. An experience of its own kind.

What role has education played for you personally?

It opened many doors, broadens my horizon and is part of my happiness in life.

What is your motto in life?

Learning something new every day, no matter how small.

Julia Kauffmann

Project Coordinator Coaching

Julia Kauffmann

Project Coordinator Coaching

Project Coordinator Coaching

Why is promoting education and equal opportunities so important to you?

I am the first in my family to go to university. Due to a lack of support, I financed part of my studies with a student loan. It is only thanks to this degree that I can stand here today and say that I have arrived in my career and I am happy. I know from my own experience how important education is for social advancement and the difficulties and hurdles you have to overcome in the educational and professional world because of your background. Through my work, I want to help people who cannot afford to pursue their dreams of education or training, so they can live a happy and fulfilling life in their chosen profession. In this way I would like to contribute to more equal opportunities.

What was your most unusual job so far?

I worked as an exhibition hostess and promoter during my studies. I had the most boring job – as a “clicker” I spent three days counting how many people visited a particular conference room with a clicker in my hand. But I also had the coolest job – as a promoter for a major beer brand, I spent a day playing football and table football with customers outside a supermarket, barbecuing with them and giving away free beer.

What do you like to do best when you’re not at EDUCA SWISS?

I dance salsa, bachata and kizomba, so in my spare time you can find me either training, at a dance festival or at a party.

Katharina Cuthbertson-Merki

Support for Candidates and Lenders

Katharina Cuthbertson-Merki

Support for Candidates and Lenders

What has been your most inspiring experience with EDUCA SWISS?

It’s great when our candidates are able to complete their dream training programme with the help of EDUCA SWISS and express this in their thank-you emails to us. That makes me very happy and motivates me enormously.

Katharina Cuthbertson-Merki studied archaeology and German. She is the mother of four children in education and knows first-hand the needs and challenges of students and trainees. Katharina has worked for the Foundation since its inception, supporting candidates and scholarship holders. She has a complete overview of our day-to-day work.

What has been your most unusual job so far?

As an archaeology student during my year abroad in Edinburgh, I worked for a few weeks on an excavation in the Scottish Highlands. We were looking for Neolithic cup marks and traces of settlements. Unfortunately we were not very successful. But I have fond memories of working in the bog, in the wind, in high boots and yellow raincoats, and of the daily journey in the windy, rumbling jeep. I fell in love with the country and its people.

What do you like to do best when you are not working for EDUCA SWISS?

Kriens – Roteflue – Mülimäs – Kriens: On foot on Mount Pilatus, 800 metres in altitude, 15 km, 4.5 hours.

Ferdinand Pelzelmayer

Managing Director DreamTeam

Ferdinand Pelzelmayer

Managing Director DreamTeam

What was your most inspiring experience at EDUCA SWISS?

In the online diary of our DreamTeam mentoring programme, mentors share the activities, conversations, highlights and concerns of their meetings with their mentees.  Seeing how mentor and mentee grow together on their journey of discovery motivates me immensely and constantly reminds me of the importance of friendships and role models in our lives. 

What has been your most unusual job so far?

When I was a student, I worked at the kiosk in Basel Cathedral. However, my services at the kiosk were rarely in demand and I was often alone. I was able to immerse myself in the silence and majesty of the place and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. That was great.

What subject could you talk about for hours?

My favourite subject is music. So I’d love to discuss your Spotify review of the year over a coffee – or two.

Marie Hallmann

Marketing Services & Communication

Marie Hallmann

Marketing Services & Communication

What impresses you most about EDUCA SWISS?

The accessibility for everyone and the fact that we have such a big and positive impact on so many lives.

What is your motto in life?

“Do good and talk about it”. I think that’s why I enjoy working in communications for NGOs.

What has been your most unusual job so far?

I did a lot of jobs when I was a student. My most unusual job was working backstage for international bands on a houseboat in Lille, France. From helping with soundchecks and mixing cocktails behind the bar to fulfilling the band members’ crazy requests, it was a great combination of musical experience and varied work.

Foto Tamara Ilic-sw

Tamara Ilic

Business Trainee

Foto Tamara Ilic-sw

Tamara Ilic

Business Trainee

Why is promoting education and equal opportunities so important to you?

For me, education and equal opportunities are fundamental to ensuring that everyone has the same opportunities, regardless of their background. A solid education not only promotes personal growth, but also contributes to the development of society as a whole. Equal opportunities create a world where talent counts, regardless of social or economic differences.

What role has education played for you personally?

Education has played a crucial role in my life. It opens professional doors, develops my thinking skills and allows me to immerse myself in society. It allows me to discover and develop my interests and passions.

What is your motto in life?

“You never stop learning.” This motto is my philosophy of life. It reminds me that the learning process is a continuous journey. Through continuous learning, whether through formal education or personal experience, I am constantly broadening my horizons. For me, the pursuit of knowledge is not only a duty, but also a source of joy and personal growth.

Foundation Board and Expert Council

In 2015, the Foundation Board founded EDUCA SWISS in Lucerne. The Expert Council provides professional support.

News and Events

Keep up to date with our news and events agenda.

Our history

EDUCA SWISS has become an indispensable part of Swiss education. Learn more about our history.

EDUCA SWISS is supported among others by

Matthias

Matthias Aebischer

National Council Bern

«Education is a human right and should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their social background or financial starting position. I am committed to this along with EDUCA SWISS Foundation.»

Matthias Michel

Matthias Michel

Council of States Zug

«I support EDUCA SWISS in its goal of ensuring that every ambitious person in Switzerland can complete an education or training program – regardless of their financial situation or social background.»

Sandra Locher Benguerel

Sandra Locher Benguerel

Former National Councillor, member of the LCH Executive Board, teacher

«Education is the key to a self-determined life and contributes to a strong and stable society. That’s why I support EDUCA SWISS in its goal to create fair opportunities.»

Professor Dr. Theo Wehner

Industrial Psychologist

Theo Wehner studied psychology and sociology, is now a visiting professor at the University of Bremen and professor emeritus at the Center for Organizational and Work Sciences at ETH Zurich University. As an expert, he works for leading foundations that finance education. His research focuses on the meaning of professional work and the act of becoming in today’s society. How do we learn through experience – especially in dealing with mistakes and failure? What is the nature of volunteer work? How do we define effective support and guidance for people in their professional development? These questions are highly relevant for the EDUCA SWISS’ work especially.

Peter F. Weibel

Expert on Business and Foundations

Peter F. Weibel studied business administration at the University of Zurich and spent many years in leading positions for leading companies in Switzerland, including as CEO of PwC from 1988 to 2003 and as a member of the Board of Directors of Credit Suisse Group from 2004 to 2012. For 15 years now, Peter F. Weibel has committed professionally to education, social issues and culture. He was awarded the Medal of Honor of the City of Zurich for his services as long-time President of the Festivals. He contributed to the development of several foundations, including the Pestalozzi Foundation. Since 2012, he has presided over the Foundation of the University of Zurich. For EDUCA SWISS, Peter Weibel’s experience in professional governance, sustainable fundraising and especially in impact-oriented leadership is particularly valuable.