Basic and further training :: Swissmem - Switzerland's Work Place and Think Tank

Basic and further training

The MEM industries represent an attractive sector that offers a wide range of basic and further training options. The MEM sector presents its members with an abundance of opportunities to pursue unique and individual careers. It is this diversity that makes it stand out from all the other sectors.


Highly skilled employees are a significant competitive advantage for Switzerland as a centre of industry and research. This competitive advantage must be preserved for future generations, making continuous development of the education system indispensable. The shortage of skilled labour is a top-priority challenge for the MEM industries. A well-developed vocational training system enhances the attractiveness of technical careers.


The Swiss education system is based on nine years of compulsory schooling, consisting of primary and lower-secondary level. As responsibility for schooling at this level resides with the cantons, it varies from region to region. It is followed by upper-secondary level, comprising basic vocational education and training (apprenticeship), baccalaureate schools and upper-secondary specialized schools. At this level, students have a choice of two different tracks to follow: vocational training in a specific occupation or a general education pathway. Universities, universities of applied sciences and professional education and training (PET) institutes make up the tertiary level.


The uniqueness of the Swiss education system lies in the co-existence of vocational educational and training (VET) and high quality education. This gives the system great permeability: It is possible to change from one track to the other at any level and obtain a qualification.

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