FVB – Education trajectories, challenges and potential

Happy teens preparing for exams in university campus
The federal vocational baccalaureate (FVB) plays an increasingly important role to satisfy demand for workers holding tertiary-level qualifications and maintain the appeal of Swiss VET programmes. In our fourth trend report, we examine which factors favour or hinder a learner’s chances of gaining a FVB and pursuing tertiary education.

The aim of this study is to identify current FVB-related challenges and potential and provide this information to VET stakeholders, federal and cantonal authorities, professional organisations and interested experts. For the first time, we study the impact of the chosen VET-occupation on the probability of participating in a preparatory course for the FVB and the extent to which the FVB is then used to gain access to tertiary education (level A). Furthermore, we present new findings from the cost-benefit study, which give insights in host companies’ perspectives of the FVB. We also focus on cantonal differences in the proportion of young people who obtain a general or vocational baccalaureate, respectively, and discuss measures to allow for greater flexibility in FVB training options, which were introduced to reinforce its overall positioning.

The results of the trend report will be presented at OBS SFIVET’s National Conference 'FVB: Admission, Career Paths and Prospects' on 29 October 2020. The report will also be presented and discussed at a working group meeting of the Swiss Conference on the Federal Vocational Baccalaureate (EBMK) to identify potential avenues for the revision of the ordinance and core syllabus for FVB preparatory courses.


In this fourth trend report, five chapters are devoted to the analysis of current developments and challenges in relation to the FVB.

  • Using the longitudinal data from the modernised education statistics from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), we track the education trajectories of young people over a period of five years (2012-2017). We track apprentices from completion of compulsory education to their Federal Diploma of Vocational Education and Training and from their Federal Diploma of Vocational Education and Training  towards their enrolment in tertiary education. Particular attention is paid to differences between occupations and cantons. What factors favour successful completion of an FVB preparatory course and the transition to enrolment in tertiary education? What differences exist between occupations and between cantons?
  • Based on data from the cost-benefit analysis, we analyse the perspectives of host companies with regard to apprentices who attend the FVB preparatory course in parallel to their workplace training (FVB1). In order to ensure that the FVB1 remains tenable, host companies’ willingness to hire apprentices who attend the FVB preparatory course in parallel to their workplace training is crucial. Because the FVB1 effectively reduces the amount of working time spent at the host company, the host company derives less benefit from the productive output of FVB1 learners than of apprentices who do not attend the FVB preparatory course. How do companies assess the cost-benefit ratio of FVB1 learners compared to apprentices who do not attend an FVB preparatory course during their training? What benefits do host companies derive from FVB1 learners? How do these companies differ from companies that do not provide workplace training to FVB1 learners?
  • Given stagnating or declining FVB1 graduations, all schools that offer FVB preparatory courses have had the option to offer more flexible FVB models since 2017.  The earlier or later completion of sub-subjects and the possibility of a staggered beginning of the FVB1 and workplace training should reduce the burden on learners and make the FVB1 more appealing for host companies. We show how these approaches are used and discuss the pedagogical potential of these flexibility options and other FVB design models.

More detailed information on the data can be found in the methodology report (in German).

Format: 2021
In progress
1.9.2019 to 31.3.2021

State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI