Study of occupational careers of Federal VET Certificate holders: young professionals five years after completion of their training

From 2007 to 2010, the Federal Office for Professional Education and Technology (OPET) and the University of Applied Sciences of Special Needs Education sponsored a Swiss-wide study of the employment situation of the first cohort of graduates of two-year VET programmes leading to issuance of the Federal VET Certificate (in retail and HORECA respectively) (Kammermann et al., 2009; Kammermann, 2010; Kammermann & Hättich, 2010).

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The results of this study show that two-year VET programmes provide a good basis for successful progression in training and entry into the labour market: around one-fourth of the respondents used the two-year VET programme as a springboard for advanced placement in the three-year VET programme leading to the Federal VET Diploma, which nearly all successfully completed in two years. Two and a half years after entering the labour market, most of the young working professionals earned a living wage under stable employment conditions (Kammermann, Stalder & Hättich, 2011). This shows that the training is certainly suited for the better of the low-achieving youth.

This research project seeks to re-assess the situation five years after completion of training to provide answers to the following questions:

  • What occupational careers do the slowest learners follow up to five years after completion of their training?
  • How well do holders of the Federal VET Certificate fare five years after completion of their training?
  • What factors determine the stability or precariousness of subsequent progression in training and/or employment?

This research project will enable verification of the impact of two-year VET programmes and provide research findings that can be used to guide measures for improvement or change.


A Swiss-wide cohort comprised of the very first holders of the Federal VET Certificate (in retail and HORECA respectively) will take part in a survey to determine how well they have integrated into the labour market over the medium term.

  1. Survey method: partially structured telephone interviews with the entire cohort (questions regarding progression of training and entry into labour market, current occupational field, quality of employment situation, level of satisfaction felt, income,...) (N=169)
  2. Survey method: qualitative interviews with a sub-group (stable versus unstable entry into the labour market): retrospective assessment of initial training, differentiated information on individual occupational careers, views regarding future prospects (N=10-20).