Work requirements are changing. New, higher and more advanced qualifications are in demand (“upskilling”), especially where new technology eliminates entire areas of work (“deskilling”). Consequently, the Swiss Observatory for Vocational Education and Training (OBS SFIVET) focussed on “upskilling” in 2020. At an online conference held on 29 October 2020, OBS SFIVET presented its trend report on the topic of the federal vocational baccalaureate (FVB) and discussed its research findings with representatives of the Confederation, the Cantons, professional organisations and other VPET system stakeholders.
The trend report clearly shows that the FVB is a successful model and has played a significant role in increasing the proportion of baccalaureate holders since the FVB was introduced in the late 1990s. Almost one-fourth of the learners surveyed prepared for and obtained their FVB. Around 13% prepared for the FVB examination during their VET programme (FVB option 1) and around 10% did so after graduation (FVB option 2). Two-thirds of all FVB holders go on to pursue higher education studies, and 35% of that group enrol in a study programme in a field that is different from the one covered in their VET programme.
However, OBS SFIVET’s trend report also notes that in recent years the number of people obtaining an FVB has stagnated and that FVB holders are also concentrated in a few, more academically demanding fields. Moreover, implementation varies greatly from canton to canton. This raises the question of how the conditions for learners and host companies can be optimised. This is particularly true for the learners who choose FVB option 1, which places a greater burden on host companies that take these learners on as apprentices. Nevertheless, the FVB has a very important role to play in preparing the next generation of skilled workers at various levels. Consolidating the FVB will therefore remain a priority joint endeavour of the Confederation, the Cantons and professional organisations in the future.