Excellence in VET

Excellence in VET takes many forms. It is shaped by the comprehensiveness of quality assurance mechanisms, by horizontal and vertical permeability in VET systems, by national recognition in the labour market and labour market employability, mobility and career prospects and by the rich opportunities to participate in lifelong learning. Furthermore considerable efforts are spent on innovations in the VET system and in VET research to improve the attractiveness of VET for all key stakeholders and in monitoring the attractiveness.

There are no specific excellence programmes for apprenticeship training in Austria, but there are award ceremonies that draw attention to apprenticeship training and training companies. The ministry of economy offers prizes for “State-Honoured Training Companies” and “Best Training Companies – Fit for the Future” to companies in different size categories to promote excellence in apprenticeship.

The 2015 VET reform introduced a strong focus on attractiveness and clear objectives to encourage more students to choose and complete VET. Consequently, the reform seeks to challenge all students to reach their fullest potential and emphasizes the excellence of VET. The reform was followed by a political agreement in 2018 (“Fra folkeskole til faglært – Erhvervsuddannelser til fremtiden”) focusing on a variety of issues all focusing on increased attractiveness, quality and access to further education.

The VET system has been adapted to the realities of society and economy in numerous ways in the frame of the VET reform of 2008. The study on the transition of VET learners to the labour market confirms the overall good performance of the VET system. However, reducing youth unemployment and early school leaving is still a big challenge that is tackled by many initiatives.

Excellence in VET in Switzerland implies systemic attractiveness as well as individual performance. Traditionally the image of VET is positive among the Swiss population. VET-programmes are attractive to the young and their parent generation because VET-qualifications boost job prospects on the labour market and are solid foundation for lifelong learning as they are no dead end qualifications.

Hence, two-thirds of all young people in Switzerland, representing a wide range of talents, opt for one of the 230 different VET-programmes after compulsory education. 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.