Policy Statement

Dr. Frédéric Berthoud, Deputy Head of Division Cooperation in Education, Head of Unit International Cooperation in Education and Professional Qualifications State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), Switzerland

The Swiss Vocational and Professional Education and Training system has a high labour-market orientation. It is highly permeable and based on a solid public-private partnership between the Confederation, the Cantons (regions) and the private sector (branch associations, social partner). After compulsory education round about two-thirds of all young people in Switzerland, representing a wide range of talents, opt for one of the 245 different VET-programmes. This supports a high qualification and employment rate in Switzerland. Nearly 95% of young people hold upper-secondary level qualifications. In addition, SMEs and large companies alike seek after professionals with VET qualifications.

Indeed, the Switzerland's economy and society profits from a strong education system, to which the VPET-programmes on upper secondary as well as on tertiary level substantially contribute. Nevertheless, global mega-trends such as digitalisation, increasing mobility or demographic change demand a fast and flexible adaptation of the system to assure for the next generation of qualified workers and a resilient society. These global issues frame the current challenges on national level. Switzerland's education and skills policy focuses on facilitating life-long learning and improving systemic flexibility.

The public and private partner governing the Swiss VPET system are currently working on the implementation of the strategic guidelines they initiated 2016 in view of the mega-trends digitalisation, increasing mobility and demographic change. They call their mission simply VPET 2030. Within 15 years, the associated partners implement a wide variety of projects. Some of them essentially want to facilitate life-long learning and consider the integration of adult learners in VET, target-group oriented career guidance counselling (f. ex. for adults 40+ or people with migration background), the reinforcement of the vocational baccalaureate and professional education on tertiary level or the development of training competences in companies as well as general education in VET-programmes. Others particularly address the improvement of systemic flexibility. They cover for instance blended learning, fastening the development or the revision of occupations and the reduction of bureaucracy by the digitalisation of processes or governance improvement.

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Video Statement

Video Statement from Josef Widmer, Deputy Director, State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI, Switzerland.