In addition to providing basic and continuing education and training, the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET) also carries out research and development activities in the area of upper-secondary level vocational education and training (VET) and tertiary-level professional education and training (PET). Both teaching and R&D are essential core competencies for SFIVET. By examining the correlations that exist between the Swiss education system and the Swiss labour market, SFIVET makes a substantial contribution to the analysis, optimisation and ongoing development of Switzerland’s VET/PET sector.
SFIVET’s R&D Division selects its research themes on the basis of strategic objectives, which are set forth in its research agenda. This means that the R&D Division mainly considers issues that are closely related to professional practices within the VET/PET sector. SFIVET then shares its research findings in its teaching activities so that professional practices within the VET/PET sector may be improved. This knowledge transfer process ensures that the fruit of SFIVET’s R&D efforts not only benefit VET/PET participants (i.e. students, teachers, trainers, schools, professional organisations, policymakers) but also society as a whole.
SFIVET’s R&D Division works with other partner institutions outside of Switzerland, e.g. EU institutions, the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) in Germany and the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM) in France. It also works with tertiary-level A institutions both in Switzerland and abroad.
The results of SFIVET’s R&D activities reach VET/PET professionals in a variety of ways. First of all, SFIVET researchers also teach (e.g. MSc in VET, basic and continuing training courses for VET/PET professionals). Secondly, SFIVET students and teachers also take part in research projects. Finally, research findings are disseminated within Switzerland’s VET/PET sector through public relations activities and publications.
SFIVET created the Evaluation Unit in February 2009. Run by three SFIVET staff members, the Evaluation Unit acts as the central point of contact for all services offered to third parties in Switzerland. It also helps to ensure the quality of SFIVET’s basic and continuing training courses by providing a consolidated assessment concept.