International Cooperation in Vocational and Professional Education and Training (IC-VPET)

Strengthening Swiss Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) in the international context is the education policy objective according to the strategy for international cooperation in VPET of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).

SERI strategy and objectives

Swiss education policy prioritises international exchanges with other countries. Increasingly, the Swiss VPET system has been the focus of such endeavours in an effort to improve the visibility and level of recognition of Switzerland’s VET sector. Swiss dual-track VET programmes place heavy emphasis on providing young people with competences in demand on the labour market. Steps have also been taken to promote Swiss vocational qualifications and encourage qualification holders to obtain competences in other countries. Since 2014, SERI’s IC-VPET strategy has served as a coherent frame of reference for the various activities.

Expertise in skills formation

Through bilateral and multilateral contacts and cooperation initiatives, Switzerland promotes the international transfer and exchange of expertise in the area of dual-track VET. With the participation of Swiss VPET and economic stakeholders, SERI receives official foreign delegations wishing to know more about the Swiss VPET system. It also supports the International VPET Congress. In addition, Switzerland is involved in activities and cooperation initiatives at both European and bilateral levels, which allows it to share its expertise in the area of skills formation with various partner countries. Specific bilateral cooperation initiatives currently exist with the USA: the Confederation generally seeks to create favourable general conditions for bottom-up cooperation between Swiss actors and foreign partners. It also provides them with subsidiary support.

Project funding for international projects in the field of VPET
Project funding for international projects is available for persons with a Swiss legal personality (legal or national persons). In accordance with art. 55 of the Vocational and Professional Education and Training Act (VPETA) provision of funding is limited to a maximum period of five years. Detailed information is provided by the corresponding guideline. In addition, Switzerland works at multilateral level with other countries that also have dual-track VET systems (Austria, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg). This includes joint efforts to develop the Apprenticeship Toolbox.

Mobility and recognition of Swiss vocational and professional qualifications

Encouraging International mobility in education is important for Switzerland. She participates on a project-per-project basis at the EU education programmes. In this context, Switzerland has developed a National qualifications framework for vocational and professional qualifications (NQF VPQ) based on the European qualifications framework for lifelong learning (EQF-LLL). This instrument allows employers in Europe to gain a clearer understanding of what holders of Swiss vocational and professional qualifications can do, thereby enabling comparison with similar qualifications in other European countries and facilitating the mobility of Swiss workers on the European labour market. The aim of achieving the mutual recognition of vocational and professional qualifications is also furthered by bilateral agreements and multilateral agreements (on the recognition of foreign qualifications).

Federal IC-VPET strategy

The objectives and activities pursued by SERI in the area of IC-VPET are complementary to those of other federal agencies with similar activities in this area. More information about Switzerland’s IC-VPET strategy and coordination between federal agencies can be found on SERI’s webpage entitled IC-VPET point of contact.

Further information