Professor Cornelia Oertle

Director General
Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET), Switzerland

Topic: Dual VET – A Success Factor for the Economy in Switzerland

Date: 16 June 2017

Time: 14:30 - 15:00


Switzerland has topped the Global Competitiveness Index for the seventh consecutive year and, according to the Global Innovation Index, has the most innovative economy. Various factors contribute to these scores. Education is certainly one. An education system that produces an appropriate mix of skills and grades is crucial to maintaining a low youth unemployment rate and to enhancing a country's economic competitiveness. This means offering a wide range of high-quality education and training programmes at the secondary and tertiary levels, and improving the fit between the competencies of graduates and the needs of the labour market.

Switzerland boasts an excellent education system at all levels and is a pioneer of the dual education system In fact, about 70% of students enrol in Vocational Education and Training (VET) at the upper-secondary level, with a great majority of them choosing dual-track programmes (also referred to as 'apprenticeships'). These programmes combine work and school-based learning with a competence-based approach. It is a market-oriented system that teaches occupation-specific knowledge and skills, while improving general education.

The Swiss VET system requires high quality apprenticeships. Therefore, its national and regional actors have to engage in close collaborations to maintain and possibly improve the quality of apprenticeships. The strong involvement of companies is crucial. For example, they are involved in the development of the training programmes and are committed to offering apprenticeship positions.

The key-elements of the Swiss Dual VET system will be discussed during this presentation, with a focus on the role of and the benefits to the Swiss economy.


Since February 1, 2015, Prof. Cornelia Oertle has been the director general of the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational and Education and Training SFIVET. She has held various leadership positions in Swiss academic institutions and public organizations. After training as a registered nurse, Prof. Oertle studied at the University of Berne for her Master of Health Administration and obtained her PhD at the University of Zürich.