For many decades, basic vocational training in Liechtenstein has been based on a two-track or three-track approach. The two-track approach, known as the dual system, combines on-the-job training within a company with teaching in a special vocational school. The three-track approach comprises these two elements as well as a range of training courses designed to teach and develop practical skills.
Of the 350 to 400 youngsters who complete their school education each year, around 60-70% embark on a vocational training course lasting two, three or four years. In Liechtenstein there are roughly 700 companies from the fields of manufacturing, industry, services and administration that offer apprenticeships for 80 different jobs.
Currently there are approximately 1250 people in Liechtenstein registered as apprentices. Each year around 400 youngsters complete their apprenticeship period with a qualification. The Office for Vocational Training and Career Counseling is responsible for vocational training in the fields of handicrafts, industry, services, agriculture, forestry, housekeeping, healthcare and nursing.
Total annual spending on basic vocational training is around CHF 11.5 million, with an additional CHF 1.5 million spent every year on advanced vocational training (vocational examinations and advanced professional examinations).
When it comes to the first level of training, the ratio between vocational training graduates and baccalaureate graduates in Liechtenstein is about 70 to 30. Metalworking and mechanical engineering occupations as well as the field of organisation/administration/office work are the most popular choices. These are followed by technical occupations, nursing, sales and construction. Since 2005, the number of successful vocational training graduates has remained broadly constant at 300 to 350. A total of approx. 1,200 apprentices are undergoing training at about 340 active apprenticeship firms at any one time. After completing their apprenticeships, an increasing number take up further training opportunities. These are provided in particular by higher vocational colleges or universities of applied science. This means the Liechtenstein education system offers many routes for young people to pursue their personal and professional development, and from every starting position.
Remo Kluser, Head of Vocational Training at Hilti Aktiengesellschaft, about the strengths of dual vocational training.