Market-oriented skills

Innovative and competitive companies depend on highly trained specialists. Not only do these create a foundation for companies to remain successful in competitive markets; they also help companies to grow, create more skilled jobs, boost value creation and pay higher wages.

Globalisation, an increasing pace of innovation and digitalisation bring along major challenges for many developing countries. One of these is the availability of competent, well-trained specialists. A shortage of skilled workers prevents companies from flourishing and creating enough decent jobs. Ultimately, this also impairs the economic growth of a country.

Focus on higher vocational training

SECO promotes the incorporation of market-oriented expertise in higher vocational training (post-secondary and tertiary levels). In doing so, it complements the work of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), which focuses on primary education as well as vocational training up to secondary level II. The private sector is at the heart of SECO’s activities. Its dynamic and innovative industries and fast-growing companies create jobs – as long as they can find the necessary workforce with the appropriate skills. Switzerland’s internationally renowned dual vocational education and training system is of great benefit. SECO involves Swiss vocational schools and companies that play an active role in the current dual education system in its projects.


SECO fosters dialogue between authorities and the private sector in higher education in order to tailor the skills of staff to the companies’ needs and reduce the skills gap.  


Tailored to the needs of the labour market

In order to cater training programmes to the needs of the labour market, SECO fosters dialogue between the private sector, the authorities and vocational schools. This involves promoting the “dualisation” of vocational training using approaches such as on-the-job training. It also makes vocational training sustainable because it caters to the needs of the labour market even in the years that follow the initial support by SECO.

Digitalisation, social and environmental aspects and gender equality

SECO supports the implementation of international labour and social standards, thereby contributing to the competitiveness of companies. Digital transformation, environmentally friendly production processes and gender equality also play an important role. Fast-changing and environmentally friendly technologies form part of the training, which strives for equal representation of gender.

Last modification 31.08.2022

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