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Evaluation Pilot Project "Practical Training (PraT)

Background and aims

In 180 social training institutions, the Swiss Association of Institutions for People with Disabilities (schweizerische Verband von Institutionen für Menschen mit Behinderung INSOS) offers apprenticeship positions that cater for special needs requirements to around 3000 youths and young adults with special needs.

Practical Training (PraT) offers a training vessel for youths and young adults with learning and/or performance impairments, who are not able to meet the demands of a nationally recognised two-year vocational training programme with Federal VET Certificate. The PraT is to be understood as a further development of the DI elementary training (IV-Anlehre). A uniform set of guidelines and use of terms in keeping with the Vocational Training Act should guarantee a standardised training programme and thus increase permeability to a two-year basic training programme with Federal VET Certificate and improved labour market integration. PraT has been on offer within the framework of a pilot project running since summer 2007 at 46 INSOS institutions covering 14 vocational fields. The aim of this evaluation is to take a comprehensive look at this pilot project.


The questions are organised into two areas with regards content:

  • The PraT concept (objectives, basic idea, feasibility, implementation, quality of training)
  • Project management (process design, communication, information, collaboration)


Qualitative and quantitative methods of evaluation will be used in combination. Training managers, vocational trainers, institution executives and external specialists will be questioned.

The problems defined by the evaluation will be processed in three parts: 

Part I Preparatory study

Analysis of institutions chosen for their logical representativeness and interviews with training managers, vocational trainers and institution executives

Part II Questionnaire inquiries

Questionnaires administered for data inquiry to all vocational trainers at all INSOS institutions offering PraT.

Part III   Semi-standardised inquiries

Interim results from the preparatory study and the questionnaire inquiries put forward for discussion by focus groups, at rating conferences and expert debates.


The creation of a new training vessel with the aim of institutionalising a low-threshold training provision was clearly welcomed by those questioned. The implementation of practical training (PrA) not only ensures a Swiss-wide standardised approach to training, but also assures the quality of that training. PrA was judged by the institution's vocational trainers as being a training vessel suitable for both stronger and weaker trainees. The results of the specialist discussions suggest that it is not the concept of training but the individual competencies and integration efforts of the single institutions that are crucial for professional integration. Both the experts and those questioned highlighted information and clarification needs. Reluctance reigns in the institutions with regard to the orientation of PrA towards the two-year basic vocational training programme, the experts consider the two-year basic training as a necessary reference for PrA.

One weak point has been identified in the field of public relations with regard to information and communication, and in the communication and collaboration of those involved in vocational training: too little attention has been given to these elements and intensification in these areas is necessary. The search for broadly accepted solutions that can be supported by all those involved will be one of the central challenges in the future development of PrA. The question of how PrA is to be positioned within the existing training system is open to two reasoning logics. The anchoring of PrA means a formalised transparency, a strengthening of the significance of basic vocational training for all adolescents and is deemed an important step towards public recognition. This in turn opens up integration paths for the young adults. The opposing reasoning logic posits that anchoring PrA in the vocational training system can only make sense when dealing with a standardised training vessel. This standardisation, however, can hardly be guaranteed due to the differing abilities of the PrA target group trainees. While there is a wish for the anchoring of PrA in the Swiss vocational training system, most particularly from the side of the institutions, the experts questioned pointed out the obligations of the responsible bodies within the Federal Social Insurance Office and the Federal Office for Professional Education and Training.


The INSOS Practical Training (PrA) is established in various interface areas: on the macro-level at the interface between the responsible bodies within the Federal Social Insurance Office and the Federal Office for Professional Education and Training and on the meso-level at the interface between the protagonists in the post-compulsory schooling training sector and those on entry into the labour market. This positioning results in various areas of tension, which are to be addressed in the further development of PrA. Refining of the interfaces requires the readiness of all those involved to increase dialogue and enhance cooperation.
It appears clear that the INSOS Practical Training is centrally important as a low-threshold, postcompulsory schooling training vessel. PrA can serve as a possible solution to stopping the gap at the interface between the hitherto existing Disability Insurance Elementary Traineeship and the two-year Basic Vocational Training Programme. PrA can present a suitable training vessel for a heterogeneous group of young people – from trainees, for whom a transfer to the two-year Federal VET Certificate programme is a real possibility, to trainees whose working capacity is expected to be limited.



Project Management



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