Gabriela Güntherodt

Gabriela Güntherodt

Head of International Markets & Business Affairs, Member of the Management Board

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U.S. turns to Swiss-style vocational training

The Swiss vocational education and training system is generating major interest in the U.S. A new report, which has now been presented in Washington, aims to give American companies an overview of how this system operates – and the opportunities it affords.

The Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN) and Accenture, launched a publication on the Swiss vocational education and training (VET) system at an event at the Swiss Embassy on 12 October in Washington, DC. Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann, Swiss Ambassador Martin Dahinden, and UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti were among the guests.

According to a statement, the new report aims to give American companies a better understanding of how the Swiss VET system functions and provide the U.S. government a blueprint for promoting such programmes at home. The report will also motivate young Americans to choose a dual educational programme, which aims to better prepare skilled workers for the labour market.

Switzerland and the U.S. signed a Memorandum of Understanding for bilateral cooperation on VET in 2015 and have achieved a number of successes since then. For instance, several Swiss companies with offices in the U.S. have launched their own VET programmes together with local educational institutions. And since July 2015, companies such as Zurich Insurance, ABB, Lafarge-Holcim and Nestlé have been present in the U.S. with VET programmes. In January of this year, 12 additional companies – among them the Basel-based pharmaceutical company Novartisannounced their intention to train young skilled workers in the U.S. 

Several delegations from American states have also visited Switzerland to familiarize themselves with the Swiss VET system. 

“With this report, we are accelerating a movement that has already shown great promise,” said Martin Naville, CEO of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce. 

“The vocational education and training system in Switzerland is considered the global gold standard due to its positive impact on the nation’s economic success, rich employer engagement, and low youth unemployment. We are thrilled to share our learnings with the United States.”

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