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VET Careers in the Joinery and Home Economics Sectors

Background and aims

Following the enactment of the new Vocational Training Act (01.01.2004), the new two-year basic training programme with Federal VET Certificate now replaces the old "elementary training" programme. It provides a greater standardisation of training contents and objectives to thus improve the employability of graduates and increase permeability to further training. Various parties have suggested, however, that some youths are unable to meet the new demands and their occupational integration is therefore at risk.  

The gastronomy and retail sectors began their new training programmes in 2005. A study carried out between 2005 and 2008 by the University of Applied Sciences of Special Needs Education Zurich in collaboration with the SRED (Service de la Recherche en Education) in Geneva investigated the occupational development of graduates in these two sectors by implementing a Swiss-wide longitudinal study. (Kammermann, Amos, Hofmann & Hättich, 2009; Further information:  cf. Study B.5: Basic Training with Federal VET Certificate and Employability).

Further sectors developed new training programmes in the following years, including programmes for the two vocations "joiner" and "home economist", which are particularly attractive to practically minded, academically weak youths. For this reason, an additional study (B17) will be annexed to the existing study (2009 – 2011) in order to accommodate the various concepts and populations found in these different sectors.  


As in the preceding study, the following questions will be addressed:

  1. What type of youth (with respect to school background, social background etc.) graduates from a basic training programme with Federal VET Certificate?
  2. How do they experience and gauge their training (pressure in school and training establishment, level of satisfaction with training contents etc.)?
  3. How does their professional situation look following graduation from the training programme (keywords "employability", "permeability")? Also of interest is the question of which factors (socio-structural, education-related, personal) contribute to a successful career start and which factors make it more difficult.


The view of the trainees is central to this enquiry: At the end of their training they will be questioned (written questionnaires) in their vocational school classes (May/June N= ca. 100+100) about their professional careers to date and their training situation. They will be contacted by telephone one year later (August / September 2010) so their current professional situation can be evaluated. This will be supported by the perspective of vocational trainers, vocational school teachers and employing establishments: Questionnaires will be distributed to vocational school teachers (N= ca. 20) and telephone questioning will be carried out on the employing establishments (N= ca. 30) in May / June 2009, with a written questionnaire following in August / September 2010. It is anticipated that questioning will be carried out in the German-speaking cantons of Zurich, St. Gallen, Berne, Basel and Lucerne.


On the whole, the new training received positive feedback from the majority of learners and vocational trainers. Most learners do not feel excessively burdened in the school or occupational environment. They are pleased with their own achievements and view both their school and occupational situation positively. This evaluation is true for both trades. Significant differences between the trades can be found in the educational background of the learners: the proportion of learners who exclusively attended regular classes is notably higher in the joinery trade (56%) than in the home economics trade (34%). In contrast, 17% of learners in the home economics trade exclusively attended a special class or special education school, compared to 4.4% in the joinery trade.

One year after completion of training, approximately four fifths of those questioned are integrated into occupational life: one third work in the trade they learned; almost one fifth have a different occupation. A quarter of the joinery trainees and 28% of the home economics trainees are in further training (for the most part with the aim of receiving a Federal VET Diploma). Several significant differences can be observed between the trades when the employment conditions are considered: Those in the joinery trade earn more than their colleagues in home economics and more commonly work fulltime in small businesses; almost half are employed on a temporary basis. There is no difference in occupational satisfaction: almost three quarters of those questioned are pleased with their current situation.



Project Management

Ehemaliger Leiter Forschung und Entwicklung


Forschung und Entwicklung
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