Vocational Education and Training / Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are an integral and important part of Switzerland’s educational system. This well-established career pathway offers perspectives for youth and contributes to very low student debt in Switzerland. More than two-thirds of Swiss students start out with an apprenticeship after compulsory school. 

Swiss companies see apprenticeships as a strategy for building a talent pool, which is why they have a strong interest in investing in the next generation of skilled workers. Some of those companies have set up apprenticeship programs at their U.S. locations, paving the way for developing and implementing apprenticeship programs inspired by the Swiss model in the United States. Apprenticeship programs have attracted widespread interest among U.S.  federal and state government agencies, companies, researchers, educational institutions and workforce development advocates

Memorandum of Understanding concerning Cooperation on Advancing Apprenticeship, Career and Technical Education, and Vocational and Professional Education and Training

At the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington, D.C., and the Swiss representations across the U.S., we encourage bilateral and international dialogue and promote awareness of Swiss vocational and professional education and training. To enhance the cooperation between our two countries, Switzerland and the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding concerning cooperation on advancing apprenticeship, career and technical education, and vocational and professional education and training. The signing ceremony at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) in Woodbridge, took place on December 3, 2018, between Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, head of the Swiss Department of Economic Affairs, Education, and Research, and Secretaries Ross, DeVos, and Acosta of the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Education, and Labor, respectively. 

Read Full Memorandum of Understanding concerning Cooperation on Advancing Apprenticeship, Career and Technical Education, and Vocational and Professional Education and Training

Swiss Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann signs Memorandum of Understanding with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Commerce Wilbus Ross, and Secretary of Commerce Alexander Acosta at NOVA Community College in Woodbridge, VA.
Swiss Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann signs Memorandum of Understanding with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Commerce Wilbus Ross, and Secretary of Commerce Alexander Acosta at NOVA Community College in Woodbridge, VA. © U.S. Department of Education
Swiss Ambassador to the U.S. Martin Dahinden speaking about the future of Swiss-American collaboration on vocational and professional education and training.
Swiss Ambassador to the U.S. Martin Dahinden speaking about the future of Swiss-American collaboration on vocational and professional education and training. © U.S. Department of Education
Swiss Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann joins Secretaries DeVos, Ross, Acosta, and Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump in a tour of NOVA’s Nurse Aid Program.
Swiss Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann joins Secretaries DeVos, Ross, Acosta, and Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump in a tour of NOVA’s Nurse Aid Program. © U.S. Department of Education

More Information

Earn While You Learn: Switzerland’s Vocational Education and Training System
Earn While You Learn: Switzerland’s Vocational Education and Training System © State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, 2016

If you would like to obtain more information about  how Switzerland’s vocational education and training system could be a model for apprenticeships in the U.S.:,