The apprentices are instructed by three categories of VET professionals: vocational school teachers, apprenticeship trainers and branch course instructors. The requirements for those professions are regulated on national level and they are trained in federally recognised institutions.
The task of the vocational school teachers, apprenticeship trainers and branch course instructors is to train apprentices at the three learning locations (i.e. vocational school, host company and branch training centre, respectively). The professional and pedagogic requirements in terms of background and work experience of vocational school teachers, apprenticeship trainers and branch course instructors is described in Federal Vocational and Professional Education and Training Act (VPETA, Art. 45-48) as well as in Vocational and Professional Education and Training Ordinance (VPETO, Art. 40-54). All three of these categories of VET professionals are trained only at federally recognised institutions that work closely with the private sector. Vocational school teachers make a special effort to be up-to-date in their classroom instruction so to meet the current needs of companies.
VET professionals support and challenge their learners to become more self-reliant for their current and future professional careers and pathways. VET professionals take economic, social, political, and operational interests in consideration whilst also considering personal expectations and needs. The diversity of profiles of VET professionals is quite large and correlates with the different learning locations and the depth of pedagogical and didactical expertise required for classroom instruction, apprenticeship training or training in branch courses.
There are several different training courses for VET professionals, each of a different duration:
- For apprenticeship trainers at host companies
- For branch course instructors at branch training centres or similar third-party training centres, in trade schools (Lehrwerkstatt) and other recognised VET institutions
- For vocational school teachers responsible for basic vocational instruction at vocational schools (vocational subjects, language, communication and society subjects, and sports lessons)
- For vocational school teachers responsible for preparing learners for the Federal Vocational Baccalaureate Examination
- For teachers working at professional colleges