Vocational education and training (VET) - Apprenticeships

Vocational education and training (VET) mainly occurs according to the dual system which combines in-company training (practical part) and a vocational school (theoretical part and general education). It can also take place in full-time school in a small number of cases. VET is completed with the Federal VET Certificate after two years or the Federal VET Diploma after three to four years.

Apprenticeships in vocational education and training by training type, change in numbers since 2000
Training type 2000 2005 2010 2015 2018
Total 203 491 200 166 225 530 221 429 215 531
  Male 117 203 119 970 131 086 128 918 127 223
  Female 86 288 80 196 94 444 92 511 88 308
172 311 178 333 200 162 208 153 201 567
  Male 107 269 109 978 117 278 121 474 118 720
  Female 65 042 68 355 82 884 86 679 82 847
9 881 10 068 12 611 - -
  Male 4 361 4 904 6 692 - -
  Female 5 520 5 164 5 919 - -
- 1 604 8 457 12 946 13 934
  Male -  619 4 651 7 213 8 493
  Female -  985 3 806 5 733 5 441
4 130 4 686 2 020  234 -
  Male 2 843 3 293 1 557  217 -
  Female 1 287 1 393  463  17 -
17 169 5 475 2 280  96  30
  Male 2 730 1 176  908  14  10
  Female 14 439 4 299 1 372  82  20
Source: FSO – Vocational education and training statistics (SBG-SFPI)
Data as of: April 2019

In 2018 the vocational education and training statistics (previously "apprenticeship contract statistics") recorded some 215 500 apprenticeships. The majority of these (around 95%) were vocational training with the federal VET diploma. Vocational training with the federal VET certificate accounted for a little more than 5%. As recently as 2000, the share of VET diplomas was only 85%; the VET certificate had not yet been introduced. Between 2000 and 2018, the other categories decreased considerably. This trend can be explained by the fact that the Federal Vocational and Professional Education and Training Act (VPETA) has been extended to include the fields of agriculture and healthcare. Furthermore, following the 2010 revision, education at the upper-secondary level trade schools is now completely integrated into the vocational education and training. Since 2014, these students also graduate with a VET diploma. The decline in basic vocational education is due to the fact that this has gradually been replaced by the vocational training with VET certificate. In 2018 the percentage of women in vocational education and training is 41%, a figure that overall has not changed since 2000.

The fields of education in which most new apprentices undertake their vocational training are Business and Administration (commercial occupations), Wholesale and retail sales as well as Building and Civil engineering. The new training type "Vocational education and training with VET Certificate” introduced in 2001 accounted for approximately 10% of all admissions to vocational education and training in 2018. The federal VET certificate training type is not evenly distributed across the different fields of education. The highest percentage is found in the field of Domestic services (19% of all apprentices).

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