The 2nd International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education and Training was held in Winterthur from June 21-23, 2016.

The Congress, which had the aim of promoting Switzerland’s system of vocational and professional education and training (VPET) internationally, and of expanding the existing network, was opened in Winterthur by President Johann N. Schneider-Ammann.

In his speech Mr Schneider-Ammann, the head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, drew attention to the Congress motto ‘From Skills to Prosperity — Sharing Elements of Success’, and addressing an audience of 450 delegates spoke of a “learning community that benefits us all”.

Sharing ideas and experiences was the theme of many of the keynote speeches, panel discussions and seminars. Examples of successful VPET projects in Sweden, Serbia, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Gabon, Bulgaria and Switzerland were presented.

A new feature of this year’s program were two events focusing on apprentices and their work. One of these was an exchange between Marcel Pawlicek, CEO of Burckhardt Compression, and Sasiprapha Kramer, an apprentice at UBS Switzerland. The second was the ‘Skills Village’ set up at the Congress, in which visitors could get a first-hand impression of the work and projects carried out by apprentices, thus gaining an insight into the dual-track system of vocational education and training.

The varied program allowed a wide range of visitors to gain an impression of the many different aspects of vocational and professional education and training. The Congress also showed how different, complex and differentiated VPET systems are; however, challenges such as digitalisation and globalization affect all countries.

The Congress attracted around 450 participants from over 80 different countries.

The third such Congress will be held in 2018.

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