Home Engagement Education Education and training policy
Contact Person  Marianne Röhricht Marianne Röhricht
Head of Unit
+41 44 384 48 51 +41 44 384 48 51 m.roehrichtnoSpam@swissmem.ch

Education and training policy

Swissmem actively campaigns for a high-performing and efficient education system which is geared to the aptitudes and affinities of its students at all levels, and which thus minimizes unnecessary “wrong turnings” in their educational biographies. In addition, the permeability of the Swiss education system allows students to pursue individual development paths, and this needs to be strengthened and enhanced.

Both a market-oriented dual vocational training system and the subsequent practice-based continuing education at a university of applied sciences or higher vocational training institution are pivotal to our industries. 90% of MEM industry employees hold a qualification from this system.

  • Swissmem is calling for nationwide adoption of the “Lehrplan 21” shared curriculum. It takes students from knowledge to skills to competencies, and thus creates a high-performing school with a modern and updated mandate. Lehrplan 21 clarifies the transition from primary school to the next level up and allows for the mobility required by society and the economy. Last but not least, it boosts the vocational orientation of the system and bolsters the MINT subjects. For the cantons, it makes collaboration easier and exploits synergies.
  • The MEM industries are exposed to fast-paced changes and will continue to be so going forward. Basic vocational training needs to be equal to these changes and to technological changes such as digitalization. This will call for flexible and individual education formats and pathways.
  • Swissmem views the duality of the vocational training system as a key factor in its success. This must be preserved and nurtured. For this to happen, businesses need to have attractive training conditions. Heavy-handed management and over-regulation within the education system are putting these at risk. Switzerland needs an overarching vocational education strategy at system level which will create the right framework to allow businesses to continue relying on and investing in vocational education in the future.
  • The “Berufsmatura” vocational diploma is very widely accepted and supported among MEM businesses. This diploma provides an ideal complement to an apprenticeship for top performers. Apprentices in Swissmem companies have an above-average pass rate for the Berufsmatura. In Swissmem’s eyes, the main goal of the Berufsmatura is to enable learners to study at universities of applied sciences.
  • Higher technical colleges form an important pillar of vocational training in the MEM industries and thus make a major contribution to addressing the shortage of technicians within the sector. Their practical orientation is what differentiates these colleges from the universities of applied sciences. This profiling needs to be maintained and enhanced.
  • Moderate, appropriate subsidization of the preparatory courses for vocational examinations will reinforce such courses, and bring about a convergence with the conditions at universities. However, the job market orientation of these examinations must take priority during this process and must not be undermined by financial incentives.
  • The MEM industries are urgently in need of engineers. The two training routes – via Gymnasium (academic high school) and study at an ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), or basic vocational training with a “Berufsmatura” vocational diploma and study at a university of applied sciences – differ in fundamental ways. The different qualification profiles must be retained in their current form.
  • Swissmem is an advocate of the “permeable” education system, with the option to cross over from Gymnasium to university of applied sciences/from a Berufsmatura or university of applied sciences degree to an ETH. The “silver bullets” within the education system must, however, be the traditional educational pathways, which are needed to preserve the different qualification profiles required by industry.


Last update: 28.02.2020