The Swiss Federal university for Vocational Education and Training SFUVET is Switzerland’s expert organisation for vocational education and training. We offer basic and continuing training to VET professionals, conduct VET research, contribute to the development of occupations and support international cooperation in vocational and professional education and training. We have regional campuses in Zollikofen near Bern (main campus), Lausanne and Lugano as well as off-campus space in Olten and Zurich.
SFUVET is owned by the Confederation. According to Article 25 of the SFIVET Ordinance, the Federal Council decides on SFUVET's strategic objectives. Like the Federal Institutes of Technology Domain, SFUVET is part of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER).
SFUVET provides services in the following areas:
- Basic training of VET/PET professionals
- Continuing training of VET/PET professionals
- Research and development in the VET/PET field
- Development of Occupations
The Basic Training Division provides training to full-time and part-time teachers working at vocational schools and professional colleges as well as to other VET/PET professionals. Launched in autumn 2007, the Master of Science (MSc) degree programme in Vocational Education and Training provides university graduates with the opportunity to gain academic qualifications in the VET/PET field.
The Continuing Training Division offers continuing training courses designed to upgrade the skills of VET/PET professionals; enable VET organisations to develop their activities; provide VET/PET managers with advanced training; and promote quality and innovation within the Swiss VET/PET system.
The Research and Development Division explores and lays the foundations for basic and continuing training in the VET/PET field. In particular, it carries out evaluations and impact assessments or develops competence measurement concepts that serve as the basis for further VET/PET developments.
SFUVET’s Centre for the Development of Occupations provides professional organisations with assistance in the development and implementation of VET and PET programmes. Services in-clude: analysis and development of occupations; description of competences required to carry out a given occupational activity; and establishment of objectives, structure, duration and qualification procedures for VET and PET programmes.
SFUVET carries out various tasks and research activities on behalf of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).
SFUVET acts as an interface between trade associations, professional organisations and the 26 cantons (with hundreds of vocational schools and professional colleges). As a national institute, SFUVET plays an important role for these partners, acting as a central point of contact for all matters relating to development projects and the basic and continuning training of VET/PET professionals.
SFUVET applies the principle of «building better practices through practice», whereby professional practices are constantly enriched by constant feedback between researchers and VET/PET professionals in the field.
With regional campuses in three of Switzerland's linguistic regions, SFUVET fulfills its mission as the sole institute in Switzerland.
SFUVET yesterday: SPIVE and SFIVET
The Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training SFIVET derived from the previous Swiss Pedagogical Institute for Vocational Education (SPIVE).
SPIVE was established in Zollikofen in 1972. A second campus was opened in Lausanne in 1975 for the French-speaking region of Switzerland and a third in Lugano in 1991 for the Italian-speaking region.
SPIVE's mandate covered basic and continuing training of vocational teachers in the commercial-industrial field, particularly full-time and part-time vocational teachers responsible for teaching and/or managerial, guidance or mediation activities.
Further tasks included the implementation of research and development projects in the vocational education field and the publication of studies and technical reports.
In 2001, the Federal Office for Professional Education and Technology (OPET; now: SERI) broadened SPIVE's mandate to include the training of vocational teachers in the commercial field and the training of VET qualification procedure examiners.
In January 2007, SPIVE became the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training SFIVET. This change resulted from two far-reaching reforms of the Swiss educational system:
- Teacher training was elevated to tertiary level
- The VET/PET system was restructured
With these two reforms and the newly transferred tasks and competences, the structures and organisation of the Institute were adjusted and the courses were positioned to cover the whole of Switzerland.
From institute to university – SFIVET to SFUVET
On 1 August 2021, the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training SFIVET was renamed the Swiss Federal University for Vocational Education and Training SFUVET. The basis for this change is the Federal Act on the Swiss Federal University for Vocational Education and Training SFUVET (SFUVET Act) which the Federal Council decided to implement on 1 August 2021. The National Council and the Council of States unanimously approved the new SFUVET Act in the autumn session of 2020.
The Act provides a comprehensive legal basis for SFUVET’s activities. It also establishes the basis for SFUVET to position itself in the Swiss higher education landscape and to obtain the necessary institutional accreditation as a university in accordance with the Federal Act on the Funding and Coordination of the Higher Education Sector. The accreditation must be obtained by the end of 2022. SFUVET will celebrate its 50th anniversary in the same year.