Recently the U.S. has shown increasing interest in learning about the Swiss apprenticeship model. American entrepreneurs and officials have become more familiar with our system and have identified the great potential for the labor market in the idea of combining on-the-job training with classroom instruction. In response to those developments, the Embassy of Switzerland has produced a brochure and a short video about the Swiss vocational education and training system and Swiss-U.S. cooperation in the area.
In Switzerland, apprenticeships have a long tradition and are deeply rooted in Swiss society and the country’s educational system. Their success serves as an inspiration since they help to keep both youth unemployment and student debt very low in Switzerland. The system is managed as a public-private partnership: the professional organizations, the cantons (state governments), and the Swiss Confederation (federal government) have found ways to jointly define curricula, skill sets and standards for occupations throughout the country.
While Swiss companies see apprenticeships as a strategy for building a talent pool, students see it as a valuable career path: two-thirds of all students coming out of compulsory education decide to start their careers with vocational education and training. Once apprentices have graduated from their program, they have a wealth of job prospects. Young professionals in Switzerland have a broad skill set combined with a nationally recognized diploma, which is their entry ticket into the labor market. Since the Swiss educational system has a high degree of permeability, apprenticeship graduates have the option to continue their education or go into a different field.
At the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington, D.C., and the Swiss representations across the U.S., we encourage bilateral and international dialogue and promote awareness of Swiss vocational education and training. While the new brochure and video provide a concise overview of the topic, we hope that they will also stimulate a productive discussion about apprenticeships in the future.
- Download the brochure to read about the Swiss apprenticeship model and the ongoing initiatives here in the U.S.
- Watch the inspiring video that introduces various stakeholders and shows their enthusiasm for apprenticeships
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