Swiss Vocational Training Is World-Class:

According to a study by the American NCEE (National Center on Education and the Economy), the Swiss vocational training system is regarded as the gold standard. The Swiss vocational training system offers not only apprenticeships throughout all sectors of the economy, but also attracts young persons with strong educational track records. Thanks to well calibrated cooperation between affiliated partners, young professionals are provided with training and are highly sought after on the labour market due to their high qualifications. The report is based on a study carried out during a visit by an American delegation, organised by ETH Zurich's KOF Swiss Economic Institute in June 2014.

As a measure of international success, the report mentions Switzerland’s very low unemployment rate by international comparison, its excellent global innovation, and its very high average per capital income. The special characteristics of Swiss vocational training, which differs significantly from the training system in the United States, include the following features:

  • 70% of young persons aged between 16 and 19 decide to complete an apprenticeship. Switzerland integrates apprentices into productive teams of adults at an early stage, where they learn about taking on responsibility and are supervised by specialists
  • Compared to other countries, learning in businesses and at school is more embedded into real situations, and week after week theory is put into practice and applied in specific operational processes from everyday work.
  • Young people receive a salary whilst undergoing training, earning around 600-700 CHF per month at the start of the apprenticeship and rising to around 1,100-1,200 CHF at the end of the apprenticeship
  • At the end of the period of training, the young professionals receive a nationally recognised certificate of proficiency, which is recognised both in the event of direct entry into full-time employment as well as for more advanced training at the tertiary level.
  • Thanks to the high permeability between educational pathways, training may be pursued throughout a worker's entire career, irrespective of the initial choice of further education.

The special feature of the Swiss vocational training system as compared to other countries lies, according to the authors, in the role played by the training firm: it draws significant benefits from its investment in young professionals, which is in part responsible for the long-term economic success of the country.

For further information:
Press release: NCEE
Press release: KOF Swiss Economic Institute ETH Zürich