The Swiss VPET system is funded by the Confederation, the cantons and professional organisations. The cantons provide at least three-fourths of public funding for the VPET system. The company pays the costs of apprenticeship training as well as the salaries of apprenticeship trainers and apprentices, but the benefits overweight the costs.
Public funding of VET
The public funding of the Swiss VPET system is shared between the Confederation and the cantons. The training of vocational school teachers, apprenticeship trainers, and branch course instructors is funded through public expenditure. The same holds true for financing of qualification proce-dures and preparation for enrolment in VET programmes.
In 2013, around CHF 3.4 billion (~EUR 3.1 billion) in public funding was allocated to the VPET system. One-fourth of the total public cost is covered by the Confederation. A total of 10% of federal funding is used to promote VET/PE development projects as well as for specific activities that serve the public interest. The cantons are responsible for implementing VET/PE. They provide at least three-fourths of public funding for the VPET system. Vocational schools fall under the responsibility of the cantons. Of the entire public expenditure devoted to the VPET system around 70% is spent on the maintenance and setting up of vocational schools.
Private funding of VET
The company pays the costs of apprenticeship training as well as the salaries of apprenticeship trainers and apprentices. Host companies obtain a return on their investment through the positive cost-benefit-ratio in Switzerland. In the cost-benefit study conducted in 2009, the gross costs for professional organisations amounted to CHF 5.3 billion (~EUR 4.9 billion). This figure was lower than the productive output of learners, which amounted to CHF 5.8 billion (~EUR 5.3 billion). If we subtract the two figures, the result is a net gain of CHF 0.5 billion (~EUR 0.4 billion).
Responsibility for branch courses lies with professional organisations. Branch courses are financed with course fees paid by the companies (average of CHF 150 (~EUR 140) per day and apprentice), public subsidies and professional organisations. The gross cost for all branch courses that took place in 2013 was around CHF 100 million (~EUR 90 million). This amounts to the average participation cost of CHF 220 (~EUR 200) per apprentice and day.
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 salary is decided by the company and the apprentice. In most cases it is based 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. The payroll accounting needs to be executed in written form.
- Salary recommendation by the professional organisations, 2014 (German, French and Italian)
- Study on production-driven scheme / SERI gross cost calculation of cantonal VET 2012 (PDF, English)
- Financing the VPET system:
Cost and benefits of Apprenticeship training from the Firm's Perspective. Strupler M., Wolter S. (2012): Dual-track VET: a success story – also for host companies. Zürich and Chur 2012. (not available in English)
Private funding of VPET: