Two-thirds of a Swiss youth cohort enrol in vocational education and training (VET) at the end of compulsory education (at the age of about 15/16). There are around 230 occupations to choose from, each of them following a clearly defined national curriculum and national qualification procedure. The VET sector forms the basis for lifelong learning and leads to a wealth of job prospects.
VET programmes provide learners with solid professional as well as general competences and pave the way for lifelong learning. VET programmes are of the dual-track variety.
- 3-year or 4-year VET programmes for the Federal VET Diploma: These VET programmes provide learners with the competences needed to work in a specific occupation and open access to tertiary-level professional education (PE). Learners also have the option of preparing for the Federal Vocational Baccalaureate (FVB) Examination either during their training or after graduation.
- 2-year VET programmes for the Federal VET Certificate: These VET programmes provide young people with more practical skills leading to a recognised qualification for a specific occupational profile. Graduates of the 2-year VET programme may enrol directly into the second year of a 3-year or 4-year VET programme leading to the Federal VET Diploma (branch regulations apply).
- Federal Vocational Baccalaureate (FVB): Learners enrolled in a 3-year or 4-year VET programme for the Federal VET Diploma have the option of preparing for the Federal Vocational Baccalaureate (FVB) Examination. This preparatory course covers general education subjects. Those who pass the FVB examination may enrol in a Swiss university of applied sciences (UAS) without having to take an entrance examination. Moreover, holders of the FVB can prepare for the University Aptitude Test (UAT), and if they successfully pass they may enrol in a cantonal university or federal institute of technology. The FVB can only be obtained in combination with a VET qualification. The studies to obtain the FVB are taking place either parallel to the apprenticeship (extracurricular courses at Vocational schools) or after already having finished the apprenticeship (extra-occupational courses at Vocational schools).