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Trainees Facing Transitions in Low-Threshold Training (LUNA: Main Study)

Background and aims

Basic vocational training (shortened apprenticeship) leading to the Federal VET Certificate (EBA) was introduced about 10 years ago (2004); it was hoped that standardized training content would enhance labour market integration and ease of access to more advanced training. The INSOS association launched its Practical Training (PrA) for young people unable to take this hurdle. Experience to date with these two training formats has been positive, as various evaluations have shown. However, there are some indications that the termination rates for training contracts (PrA) are higher than for the three- to four-year courses leading to the Federal VET Diploma (EFZ).  

A pre-study conducted by the University of Applied Sciences of Special Needs Education confirmed that little is known especially about the consequences of training contracts and that acceptance in some sectors and integration after completion of training  should be further promoted.


This ongoing study is therefore examining the quality of the training situation and its consequences for vocational integration. The research questions are the following:

  1. Current fit between trainees and available training: How satisfied are trainees with their training? How do they experience their situation at the vocational school and at the company?
  2. Termination of training contracts due to poor fit: What are the reasons for, and consequences of, termination of training contracts, and how can the persons affected be supported?
  3. Vocational perspectives and transition into the labour market: How well are the graduates integrated vocationally, and how is the ease of access to more advanced training being utilized?  


Planned is a quantitative longitudinal study and an in-depth qualitative study. We will survey trainees in four sectors (construction, restaurant and catering, carpentry and housekeeping) in the German-speaking and French-speaking parts of Switzerland. 

  • For the quantitative study, we will survey approximately 600 trainees (EBA and PrA) at three time points: At the start and at the end of training (with a focus on the training situation and the course of the training) and one year after completion of training (with a focus on entry into the labour market and current work situation).
  • For the qualitative study we will focus on the trainees’ subjective evaluation of the situation. For the interviews we will select trainees that switch training formats during training or terminate their training contract. In selected cases, we will also interview people in the trainee’s environment.


Initial results on the transition to training and on the current training situation are available from the written survey conducted at the start of training (Hofmann & Müller, 2017; Hofmann et al., 2017): Trainees who complete Basic Vocational Training (shortened apprenticeship) leading to the Federal VET Certificate (EBA) or Practical Training (PrA) are a very heterogeneous group in terms of age, background, parents’ level of education, and compulsory schooling. For choosing an occupation, the trainees found mainly tryouts in different companies helpful. Approximately 80% of the EBA trainees did a tryout in their own occupational field, whereas more PrA trainees also did tryouts in other occupational fields. A large part of the trainees felt that they were well supported in this phase, but for many, the transition into training does not seem to have been smooth: Only about 30% were able to enter into training directly after compulsory schooling. Here, the percentage of trainees in EBA (26.8%) was much lower than the percentage of trainees in PrA (42.1%).

The trainees rated the current situation at the start of training as mainly positive: Most of the trainees—about 80%—were “rather” to “extremely” satisfied with their training situation and reported that the chosen training matched their own interests and abilities “quite well” to “exactly” and was a good solution all in all. Here, trainees who had found tryouts to be important for choosing an occupation reported a better match and also greater satisfaction. In contrast, however, more frequent tryouts were found to be negatively associated with trainee’s perception of the match between self and occupation. It appears that the quantity of tryouts tends to indicate difficulties in the process of choosing an occupation.

Based on the data collected, we are currently testing further interesting associations, such as how background and school biography affect entry into training or satisfaction with training. In addition, the further course of the training will be captured and analysed in the second written survey (May/June 2018) at the end of training.



Project Management

  • Dr. phil.  Hofmann


  • Ehemaliger Leiter Forschung und Entwicklung

  • Eidgenössisches Hochschulinstitut für Berufsbildung (IFFP-EHB)

  • Eidgenössisches Hochschulinstitut für Berufsbildung (IFFP-EHB)

Project team


Forschung und Entwicklung
Tel: +41 44 317 11 81

zfe[at] zfe