Segment mobility within the same occupational field

Segment mobility of holders of vocational and professional qualifications is crucial to ensure the availability of skilled workers. A new publication by the Swiss Observatory for Vocational Education and Training looks at the school-to-work transition to determine how often labour market entrants move from one sub-segment to another within a given occupational field. The healthcare sector was chosen as a case study since health care professionals are provided with 'generalist training', which qualifies them to work in all segments of the healthcare sector.

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Switzerland's vocational and professional education and training system (VPET system) either provides qualifications with a general orientation designed to provide the knowledge, skills and know-how needed to ensure full-spectrum employability within a given occupational field. Or it offers qualifications with a segment-specific focus that qualify for work in certain segments of the occupation. Qualifications with a general orientation provide professional competences enabling the apprentices and students to work in all areas of an occupational field (segment mobility) or to undergo further training. The aim of generalist training is to encourage greater mobility and flexibility within an occupational field and to ensure a balanced supply of skilled workers in all segments and on all education levels. 

Generalist training only leads to mobility within the occupational field if working and training conditions are considered favourable

A new publication «Trend in focus (in German): Mobilität innerhalb eines Berufsfelds – Welche Herausforderungen stellen sich der Berufsentwicklung und Fachkräftesicherung?» by the Swiss Observatory for Vocational Education and Training OBS SFUVET considers two training programmes with a general orientation in the healthcare sector, one leading to an upper-secondary level vocational qualification as a healthcare assistant and one leading to a tertiary-level qualification as a registered nurse. This report discusses the impact of these generalist training programmes on the segment mobility of recent labour market entrants. There is strong demand in long-term care facilities for tertiary educated registered nurses. Structural changes in the provision of healthcare have led to an increased need for highly qualified nursing staff for long-term care and homecare patients. Despite their generalist training, very few registered nurses choose long-term care facilities as their place of work. Under conditions of skills shortage, young employees typically move into segments where working conditions and career prospects are better. One way to channel segment mobility could be to improve working and training conditions and/or adjust the design and quality of training in the less attractive segments.