Interview: Vocational training helps Switzerland keep unemployment rate low, says expert-Xinhua

Interview: Vocational training helps Switzerland keep unemployment rate low, says expert

Source: Xinhua| 2023-08-23 00:20:15|Editor: huaxia

GENEVA, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Vocational education and training (VET) contributes to Switzerland's low unemployment rate, Erik Swars, head of international relations at the Swiss Federal University for Vocational Education and Training (SFUVET), told Xinhua in a recent interview.

According to Swars, high quality VET combines practice and theory and has a three-fold benefit for society.

VET has a strong impact on the Switzerland's low unemployment rate, he said. According to the Swiss federal government's State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the number of unemployed people in the country stood at 88,076 at the end of May, corresponding to an unemployment rate of 1.9 percent, compared with 2.0 percent in April.

VET is beneficial for employers as it provides companies with qualified staff with the required competencies, Swars said.

VET is also good for students and learners, Swars said. "They get the required competencies to be able to work on the labor market and also to have various career opportunities."

VET has a long history in Switzerland. It started in the 19th century. In 1930, the first federal law on VET was adopted, and since then the system has been continuously improved, Swars explained.

Swiss authorities consider VET highly important, and the country's companies that are responsible for the content of training also play an important role, he said.

VET is fully integrated into the Swiss education system, its graduates have numerous career options. "There's no dead end in the system," Swars said.

VET also supports young people in their career choice. "It's not easy for a 15-year-old to decide about his or her future career."

Currently, the developments in the labor market are driven by the structural, social, digital and green transition, he said. Every single economy has to adapt to these new demands, such as the rise of artificial intelligence.

VET organizations, such as SFUVET, seek to translate these new demands into the development of new or existing professionals, he added.

SFUVET has three pillars: it offers education and continuing training to full-time and part-time teachers working at vocational schools and professional colleges; it conducts research in the field; and it assists professional organizations in the development of occupations, Swars said.

China is taking various measures to strengthen vocational education and training, Swars said, adding that SFUVET has been collaborating with China for many years.