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Swiss Dual


The Swiss Dual System is a dual based joint effort of training companies and vocational trade schools in Switzerland.

An apprentice is employed in a training company (all sorts of industry from small to large size) and once or twice per week he/she goes to vocational school.

The training company is responsible for the apprentices “on the job" training and practical trade related teaching, whereas the vocational school imparts theoretical knowledge (trade specific and general knowledge) to the apprentices.

The apprentice gets a small salary from the training company which is much smaller than that for a full employed worker. More than 200 trades are offered for apprenticeship education in Switzerland.


The 10 most popular skilled occupations (out of approximately 245) in 2020 Switzerland are:

  • Office Clerk
  • Health care specialist
  • Healthcare Assistant
  • Retail trade specialist
  • Care specialist
  • Computer scientist
  • Electrician
  • Logistics technician
  • Draughtsman
  • Cook
  • Farmer

These occupations account for about 50% of all newly signed apprenticeship contracts in Switzerland. Source: →


Vocational Education and Training in Switzerland is a task that involves the Working Environment (trade associations, other professional organisations and training companies or businesses), the State Governments and the Federal Government.

These three partners are jointly committed to Vocational Education and Training of the highest possible standard and aim to providing a sufficient number of apprenticeship placements. In total there are approx. 220'000 young people in Vocational Education and Training (upper secondary level) in Switzerland. A side effect of this system, youth unemployment in Switzerland remains low: 1.8% in July 2022 (Source: State Secretariat for Economic Affairs).


The Swiss apprentice education system is very old and has its origins at the formation of the first federal union of 5 states in 1291. At that time already, various trades of several Swiss states started forming guilds, called “Zünfte” (singular: “Zunft”) in German. These guilds were politically involved and very powerful: To name an example, in Zurich, there existed a guild constitution (“Zunftverfassung”) until 1798. The guilds were also regulating the trade apprenticeship system for training and education of trade skills.

Later on, national regulations for vocational education were introduced, and a responsible ministry was formed. Nowadays in Switzerland, both trade associations/businesses and the government (confederation and “cantons”) are responsible for the vocational education according to the latest state of knowledge.