A key trait of traditional vocational and professional education and training in Switzerland is the cooperation between companies, schools, federal and cantonal authorities which supports the coordination processes between the official bodies and learners, administrative organisation, financing as well as many other aspects. Private stakeholders must continually be persuaded of the importance of this socially beneficial cooperation. Effective strategies are needed to ensure successful collaboration between the various stakeholders. The Leading House Governance in Vocational and Professional Education and Training (GOVPET) conducted research into such strategies and explained exactly how they work. Three different small occupations were evaluated to gain an insight into the diversity of small occupations:
- The integration of the occupation of piano maker into the occupational field of musical instrument makers,
- The preservation of the occupation of weaver and
- The creation of the new small occupation of cable car mechatronics technician
The analyses indicate that highly committed leaders of professional associations play a vital role in preserving these occupations:
- They organise voluntary work and secure financial and political support.
- They believe in the value of Swiss vocational education and training, but they are also primarily motivated by preserving their skills and traditions and ensuring strong occupational identities. This means vocational education and training remains attractive to these associations despite having to meet greater educational and administrative requirements and the challenges entailed.
- The work of the associations is made easier due to the fact that the Swiss vocational education and training system is very well established and that they also receive support for their activities from the public authorities, e.g. in the form of educational consulting.
- The Vocational and Professional Education and Training Act and the related reforms provide various solutions to the challenges faced by small occupations. This flexibility is required to reconcile the individual strengths and weaknesses of the associations.