Linking Learning Venues

The training plan is key to linking the company based part of the training and the school education. A clear distribution of responsibilities, communication and cooperation between the company and the school and clear feedback mechanisms on student progress are essential features in successful apprenticeship. The VET schools or social partner representatives will often take lead in ensuring mechanisms, which can support efficient cooperation.

Apprentices take part in two different modes of instruction: the company for practical, work-based learning and the part-time vocational school for subject-specific, theoretical training. The two learning venues train apprentices independently of each other. This is because there are two separate legal and training regulations for each type of training. Nevertheless, there are several informal linkages between training companies and vocational schools. Lastly, training alliances between training companies also have to be mentioned.

The training regulations as issued for each training occupation include framework curricula for the school and the in-company training; both curricula are jointly designed to be coherent in their sequences and avoid duplications. Ideally the in-company trainers and vocational school teachers are in a steady communication on the learning progress of the apprentice, using for instance the apprentice’s record book. The extent of the cooperation is not regulated and depends on the commitment of the involved persons.

The unit and modular based organisation of VET programmes guarantees the coherence and synchronisation between the school and work based learning part of a VET programme. Apprenticeship counsellors represent the in-company trainer at the class council held at the end of each semester at technical secondary schools and make the link between the school based and work based training part.

The Swiss vocational education and training (VET) model knows three training arrangements that collaborate closely according to the national VET legislation and the specific VET ordinances. Besides the apprenticeship training in the companies and the classroom instruction in the vocational schools, the third training arrangement are the branch courses.