The key incentive for the companies is that engagement in apprenticeship is a recruitment channel for future skilled workers, which is a growing challenge due to aging and changing educational choice among youth in many countries. Over time apprentices contribute to the income of the company as apprenticeship is based on learning through productive work. The net-profit margin varies however between companies and sectors. In addition there may be other forms of incentives particularly to stimulate that SMEs take on board apprentices, or to open up apprenticeship for challenged youth. These incentives may be in the form of tax deductions or grant schemes.
The state finances both indirectly and directly part of the costs of the company-based apprenticeship training. A large number of direct state subsidisation options exist for training companies. In addition, quality-oriented subsidisation options are also available. Recent incentives include subsidisation for guidance, counselling, care and support services, and subsidisation schemes for apprenticeship posts for challenged youth.
The guiding principle in terms of incentives is that employers are required to take on apprentices in order to sustain the dual system and thus secure qualified labour for the future. In addition, all employers pay into a common reimbursement fund, thus participating in financing apprenticeships, even if they do not take on apprentices themselves.
In general there is no direct financial support to training companies. The government runs support programmes offering grants to companies that fulfil certain requirements or to companies that offer training to vulnerable target groups.
In order to encourage companies to hire apprentices, an initiative to support the creation of apprenticeship positions was created in 1999. It provides reimbursement of 27% of the apprenticeship allowance for a DT (technician’s diploma) or DAP (vocational aptitude diploma) training and 40% for a CCP (vocational capacity certificate) training, as well as a refund of the employer’s share of social security costs for the apprentice (SCL, 2012b).
Generally, the SMEs and MNEs involved in the provision of apprenticeship training do not receive financial incentives from the Confederation or the cantons. However they can profit from good framework conditions (infrastructure and funding) assured by the public sector. Finally yet importantly, there are many other motivating factors for businesses to invest in apprenticeship training. They can form the next generation of qualified workers and they retrieve an economic net benefit.