The Confederation, the cantons and professional organisations fund the Swiss VPET sector each to its own extend. Regarding initial VET-programmes, the cantons provide at least three-fourths of public funding. The professional organisations fund the branch courses and their members, the companies, bear the costs of apprenticeship training as well as the salaries of apprenticeship trainers and apprentices for assuring the next generation of qualified workers and because the short- and midterm benefits overweight the costs.
Public funding of VET
The public funding of the Swiss VPET system is shared between the Confederation and the cantons. Regarding VET The training of vocational school teachers, apprenticeship trainers, and branch course instructors is funded through public expenditure. The same holds true for the financing of qualification procedures and the preparation for enrolment in VET programmes.
In 2017, around CHF 3.6 billion (~EUR 3.3 billion) in public funding was allocated to the VPET system. The vast majority of this was spent by the cantons, as they are responsible for implementing VPET (especially the maintenance and setting up of vocational schools). The Confederation contributes one quarter of the total costs of the VPET system. Up to 10% of federal funding is earmarked to promote VEPET development projects and specific activities that serve the public interest.
Private funding of VET
Professional organisations provide both services and funding for the Swiss VPET system: they do the ground-work, run their own training centers as well as particular branch courses and promote specific occupations (VET sector) and professions (PE sector). For their part, companies, help to fund the system by creating apprenticeship positions. They bear the costs of apprenticeship training (including fees for branch courses) as well as the salaries of apprenticeship trainers and apprentices. Generally speaking, host companies stand to benefit from taking part in VET programmes. According to a cost/benefit study conducted in 2009, gross costs of involvement in VET amounted to CHF 5.3 billion (~EUR 4.9 billion). This figure was outweighed by the productive output generated by apprentices, wich amounted to CHF 5.8 billion (~EUR 5.3 billion). Hence, the result is a net gain of CHF 0.5 billion (~EUR 0.4 billion).
Learners enrolled in dual-track and school-based VET programmes pay nothing at all for their training. They receive a monthly apprenticeship salary from the host company where they undertake their apprenticeship. The terms of each apprenticeship are set out in a legally binding apprenticeship contract signed by the learner and the host company. The host company also provides the work-space for the apprentice as well as the material required for work tasks. The monthly salary paid to the apprentice varies from one VET programme to another. An apprentice earns less money in the first year of his/her apprenticeship than later on in the apprenticeship (increasing compensation). Legislation does not impose a minimum wage. The branch specific amount of an apprenticeship-salary relies on the recommendations of the branch. The salary may however also be part of a Collective Employment Contract for the sector. It is not mandatory for the company to follow the recommendations, but advised. Apprenticeship salaries vary according to where the host company is based (canton, rural or urban area) and there are great differences between the compensation policies of host companies in general.
All companies within a given economic branch are required to contribute to a corresponding VPET fund, wich is used to cover the costs of activities within the VET sector and professional educational sector (e.g. development of training programmes, organising courses and qualification procedures, promotion of specific occupations). Referring to the VPETA the Confederation may declare some VPET funds to be of general interest and therefore mandatory for all companies within a given economic branch.
- Public Funding of VET (in German, French and Italian)
- Vocational and Professional Education and Training in Switzerland. Facts and Figures 2019
- Branch courses regulations (in German and French)
- Strupler, M. & Wolter, S., C. (2012): Dual-track VET: a success story – also for host companies. Results of the third cost-benefit analysis of apprenticeship training from the firm's perspective. Rüegger Verlag (Zürich und Chur).
- Mühlemann S. & Wolter, S.C. (2013): Return on investment of apprenticeship systems for enterprises: Evidence from cost-benefit analysis. EENEE Analytical Report No. 16. Prepared for the European Commission.
- Salary recommendation by the professional organisations (German, French and Italian)
- VET Funds referring to Art 60 VPETA (in German, French and Italian)
- VET Funds (in German, French and Italian)