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Vocational education Switzerland’s top-scoring apprentices

Leaving school at 16 could be a disadvantage in some careers and cultures. Yet these Swiss have worked their way to the top – sometimes in a whole other field – following a start in vocational education. 

“While many other countries see apprenticeships as inferior to a university degree, Switzerland has quite a few political leaders and other people of influence who started out with an apprenticeship,” points out House of Switzerlandexternal link, a federally funded website created to promote the Swiss image abroad. 

After finishing the obligatory years of primary and secondary school, more than half of Swiss teens take on an apprenticeship. The most popular is the commercial one, according to a recent survey. In theory, it can lead to big things. Ueli Maurer, head of the federal finance ministryexternal link, apprenticed as a commercial clerk at a farming cooperative in the late 1960s. 

Luckily for Switzerland and Liverpool, footballer Xherdan Shaqiri decided not to stick with his original career choice: fashion retail. However, his wardrobe probably still benefits from professional folding skills.