Vocational Education and Training & Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are deeply rooted in Swiss society and are seen as a respected, high-quality education. They are an integral and important part of Switzerland’s educational system and their success has inspired others to do the same. More than two-thirds of Swiss students start out with an apprenticeship after compulsory school. This well-established career pathway offers opportunities for youth and contributes to a low youth unemployment rate (2.2% in 2019) as well as very low student debt in Switzerland.

Swiss companies see apprenticeships as a strategy for building a talent pool. In the interest of continuing to provide high-quality products, they have a strong interest in investing in the next generation of skilled workers. Apprenticeships also offer great benefits to companies and decrease their recruitment costs. In Switzerland, vocational education and training is one of the factors that contribute to the country’s economic stability and innovation capabilities. It is a dynamic system with regularly updated learning curricula adapted to new developments in the labor market.

Apprenticeship programs have attracted widespread interest not only from U.S. companies, but also from U.S. federal and state agencies, researchers, educational institutions and workforce development offices. They have identified the great potential for the labor market in combining on-the-job training with classroom instruction. Accordingly, several Swiss and U.S. companies have set up apprenticeship programs at their U.S. locations, paving the way for the development and implementation of apprenticeship programs inspired by the Swiss model in the United States.

If you would like to know more information on how Switzerland's vocational and professional education and training system could be a model for apprenticeships in the U.S.: 

  • Download the Earn While You Learn brochure to read about the Swiss apprenticeship model and the ongoing initiatives here in the U.S. 
  • Watch the inspiring video that introduces various stakeholders and shows their enthusiasm for apprenticeships.