There is a broad range of VET programmes, which also includes apprenticeships that are very demanding. Apprenticeships are attractive for gifted learners due to the uniqueness of the profiles and learning pathways. Especially the integral approach of the practical training and the school-based learning leads to a profound knowledge of the profession. Apprenticeships lead towards being a well-respected and qualified person in the specific profession. Graduates are sought-after employees on the labour market.

The career opportunities after having completed a VET programme are vast and depend on the individual’s talents and ambitions. There are great opportunities for formal and non-formal continuing education and training (CET) as well as many on-the-job opportunities for professionals. Mixed education pathways, the combination of professional and academic education, are given due to the permeability between the pathways. They are also fully recognised by the labour market and they are socially valued by the Swiss public.

Tertiary-level professional education (PE) builds up from upper-secondary level vocational education and training (VET). It provides professionals with specific competences and prepares them for highly technical and managerial positions.

Talented learners may also wish to obtain the Federal Vocational Baccalaureate (FVB), an optional additional qualification entitling the holder to enrol in a Swiss university of applied sciences (UAS). In addition, FVB holders who go on to pass the University Aptitude Test (UAT) may also enrol in a cantonal university or one of Switzerland’s two federal institutes of technology (FITs).

The Swiss VET sector is also a source of contestants in skills competitions, such as the WorldSkills Competition (Swiss overall ranking of 4th place at 2015 World Skills in Sao Paolo) and the EuroSkills Competition. Each year, numerous trade associations send their young professionals to compete in national SwissSkills competitions. At the same time, these competitions serve as a means of selecting the most excellent participants for the EuroSkills and WorldSkills competitions. In 2014, the first centrally organised SwissSkills competition was held in Bern.