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On the Employment Market with a Vocational Education Training Certificate

Background and aims

Completed in 2009, the B.5 research project was the first study to date to provide Swiss-wide results with regard to employment market integration of young professionals in possession of a Federal Vocational Education Training Certificate (VET Certificate). It was shown that the two-year basic training course in the retail and hospitality industries led to a higher number of certificate holders entering further training programmes, most particularly the three-year basic training course that leads to a Federal Vocational Education Training Diploma (VET Diploma).

No conclusive evaluation with regard to improved employability can be made using the data ascertained within the framework of the B.5 research project: Around 88 percent of those youths questioned who had a VET Certificate were employed or enrolled on further training programmes one year after completing their VET Certificate training. On average, they earned a higher salary and exhibited a higher level of mobility with respect to changing employment establishments when compared to a comparative sample of young professionals who completed Elementary Traineeships. Twelve percent of those questioned were (still) without employment one year after completing their VET Certificate training (Kammermann, Amos, Hofmann & Hättich, 2009, p. 4, siehe, Studie B.5: Grundbildung mit Berufsattest und Arbeitsmarktfähigkeit). Unfortunately, the results were restricted to the first year after completion of the two-year vocational training programme.


In order to investigate not only the short-term, but also the longterm employment market perspectives and levels of permeability within the vocational training system of this training vessel, which was introduced during the education reforms for the population of more practical-orientated, low performing and disadvantaged youths, it was necessary to add a further measuring point two and a half years after training ended. The timing of the follow-up investigation is conceived in such a way that conclusions can be drawn regarding the success rate of those people who transfer from the two-year VET Certificate programme to complete the three-year VET Diploma programme. These results are of great importance from the perspective of educational policy as there is to date no other Swiss-wide study that tackles this subject matter.


The initial B.5 research project sample (young professionals with a VET Certificate in the first series of vocations under the revised education regulations – retail and hospitality industries, N=319) were questioned for a second time ca. 2.5 years after completion of their VET Certificate training.

The young professionals were questioned with regard to their current (vocational) situation and their career history since they were last questioned using standardised telephone interviewing techniques.


Differentiated analysis of the career histories of those young professionals with a VET Certificate in
the retail and hospitality industries shows positive results:

72% of those questioned that were employed when the third round of questioning took place have a secure employee relationship, a permanent position and work full-time. It is thus shown that the two-year basic training programme enables the youths to integrate well into the employment market. Nevertheless, 9.9% of those youths questioned were unemployed 2.5 years after completion of the VET Certificate programme and 42 of all those questioned were unemployed at some time during the 2.5 year phase.

Improved permeability to the three-year Federal Vocational Education Training Diploma programme (VET Diploma) was confirmed by the results of the third round of questioning: 40 of the 62 people that went onto the VET Diploma programme after completing the VET Certificate programme, successfully completed the course within two years; only three people discontinued the programme or did not pass. The rest are currently completing their third year of training.

The study also highlighted various individual progression trends. There is a connection between future perspectives at the point of programme completion and the progress type (stable wanted, unstable unwanted). Persons with a secure VET Diploma apprenticeship position follow a significantly higher stable wanted (46%) and lower unstable unwanted (24%) progression trend. On the flip side, persons with unclear perspectives at the point of programme completion follow a significantly lower stable wanted (9%) and much higher unstable unwanted (60%) progression trend.

Furthermore, the results show that in their vocations to date, the young professionals have frequently changed their positions. This is most often a case of changing employment establishment and not vocation. A more stable individual vocational path is taken by those young professionals whose training biography contains no interim solutions or repetitions as well as women and persons in the retail industry.



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