Education

Apprentices in watch factory in Grenchen
The education system is a key factor underlying Switzerland’s attractiveness as a location. © FDFA, Presence Switzerland

The Swiss education system is noted for its broad, varied and flexible range of educational opportunities.  It produces highly qualified specialists at all stages – university, general education and vocational education.  These specialists make a major contribution to Switzerland’s ability to innovate and to compete, and thus to Switzerland’s attractiveness as a location. The dual vocational education and training system (VET) in Switzerland attracts particular international interest and serves as a model for many other countries as they seek to reform their own vocational training schemes. 

The Confederation, cantons and professional associations are committed to working together to ensure a high-quality dual VET system.  Two-thirds of young people in Switzerland pursue a vocational training course.  Dual training systems in jobs and in vocational colleges allow apprentices to acquire professional qualifications, which are in demand on the job market.  As a result, Switzerland has one of the lowest rates of youth unemployment anywhere in Europe.  Basic vocational training gives youngsters a solid foundation and opens up opportunities for further training.

Vocational training – the success of the Swiss model

VET in Switzerland deserves wider recognition internationally.  General education pathways and vocational pathways should also be recognised as equally valid routes in other countries.  The FDFA supports the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) in its efforts to improve international recognition of the Swiss VET system and its qualifications, and to encourage mobility in the field of education.

Helping to promote scientific and social development abroad

VET can make a significant contribution to scientific and social development in industrialised, emerging and developing countries.  The FDFA is involved in passing on Swiss expertise in the field of dual VET to other interested countries. Switzerland works alongside partner countries, which also have a dual VET system and are active in joint VET initiatives.

Switzerland implements VET projects in many countries as part of its development cooperation activities. It works alongside international organisations, which are involved in education matters, such as UNESCO, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).