Survey of need for advisory services in vocational education and training in the Canton of Zurich

SFIVET's Evaluation Unit was commissioned by the Canton of Zurich's Office for Upper-Secondary Education and Training to conduct a needs assessment for coaching and advisory services for apprentices and workplace trainers in vocational education and training.

Berufsschüler/ Studenten in der Fachausbildung Elektronik
Adobe Stock / industrieblick

Often apprentices, but also workplace trainers at host companies, require assistance in order to successfully complete an apprenticeship. The Canton of Zurich's Office for Upper-Secondary Education and Training therefore commissioned SFIVET Evaluation Unit to clarify the advisory and coaching services used by apprentices and workplace trainers as well as the typical problem situations encountered. The study will also help to determine whether host companies feel that there is a need for a specific coaching and advisory centre for those responsible for workplace training.


To answer the various questions, a three-step procedure was carried out.

In the first phase, a thematic assessment was carried out on the basis of semi-structured interviews with three key persons from the Canton of Zurich's Office for Upper-Secondary Education and Training (MBA ZH).

In the second phase, guided interviews were conducted with those responsible for workplace training from twenty different host companies as well as with an apprenticeship inspector from MBA ZH.

The results of these interviews formed the basis for the questions raised in the quantitative online survey, which was sent out to a random sample of 700 host companies in the Canton of Zurich (third phase).


It is important and justified to create a specific coaching centre for companies so that those responsible for workplace training will have a point of contact to turn to in difficult situations. This centre could be housed at MBA ZH or could be an independent neutral body. The need for advisory services was expressed by workplace trainers from both large- and small-sized companies. The various advisory services should be broad enough to cover different problem areas. Workplace trainers tend to seek assistance with specific problems that apprentices experience in their training and/or in their personal lives. As a result, consideration should be given to making the future contact point accessible to apprentices as well.

The development of a clear and easily accessible digital overview of advisory and coaching services on the MBA ZH website is recommended. Ideally, this would include a keyword search with links to relevant specialised offices, legal support options, literature, information on whether services are free of charge or fee-based, etc. Ideally, this information should be made easily accessible to learners through an app.