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Robert Roth

By age 23, Robert Roth was managing a retail store. In 1976 he founded Weizenkorn, which is now the largest employer in Switzerland of young people suffering from psychological problems. Over the years he realized that many young people, not just those with physical or psychological handicaps, who could not find jobs were losing hope. He therefore conceived the Job Factory in 1999, actively launching it the following year, and today serves as its President and a member of the board.

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Job Factory
For-profit Social Enterprise
Youth Perspectives; Future of Work; Social Innovation
Areas of Impact
Europe, Spain, Switzerland, Greece, Germany

Job Factory

Job Factory offers a chance in the job market for teenagers and young adults who have experienced a rough start. The goal is to avoid the stigmatization of young people due to involvement in welfare programmes, which typically ends their professional careers before they can even start.

Each year Job Factory offers 300 unemployed young people a six-month internship in the following areas: kitchen furniture manufacturing, e-bike production and sales, digital print, computer services, mechanical products, facility maintenance, painting work, retail and sales (fashion, boutique, music store, take away services, restaurant services and cuisine, hairstyle), industrial manufacturing, packaging, custom-made furniture, guitar repair, artistic workshops. Each division is organized as a profit centre.

As a private company, Job Factory must survive in the market while offering an authentic, performance-oriented environment. It offers professional coaching focusing on the strengths and resources of each young person through its Job Training Foundation. This represents a more cost-effective programme than traditional training for the unemployed. The unique combination of market-oriented work and specialized coaching enables youths to obtain a successful start in professional life. The economic and social departments of the Basel cantonal government work in cooperation with Job Factory, sending unemployed youths to Job Factory when alternative solutions cannot be found. To date, over 4,000 people have held an internship with Job Factory; 80% of trainees who successfully complete the internship find an apprenticeship or employment, or to pursue further education.


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