The principle of permeability (no dead-end qualifications) was at the heart of the revision of the Federal Vocational and Professional Education and Training Act (VPETA, SR 412.10). Application of this principle is guaranteed since introduction VPETA in 2004; it applies to the transition to various education and training programmes and at all levels within the Swiss education system. It is even possible to validate professional and personal experience gained outside the formal education system.

Learners who successfully complete a two-year VET programme for the Federal VET Certificate can – depending on the opportunities offered by the occupational field – enrol for advanced placement in a three- or four-year VET programme for the Federal VET Diploma. Conversely, learners enrolled in a three- or four-year VET programme who are unable to keep pace with the requirements may drop down to a two-year VET programme for the Federal VET Certificate.

Holders of a Federal VET Diploma may pursue professional education to obtain a federally recognised tertiary-level professional qualification.

Holders of the Federal Vocational Baccalaureate (FVB) − an optional academic qualification issued alongside the Federal VET Diploma − may enrol in a Swiss university of applied sciences (UAS) without having to take an entrance examination, provided the Federal VET Diploma in question corresponds to the degree programme chosen.

For FVB holders, there is also a one-year preparatory course for the University Aptitude Test (UAT). The UAT is intended to enable FVB holders to enrol in Swiss tier-one universities (i.e. cantonal universities and two federal institutes of technology).

Permeability also means the possibility of transferring to another occupation (e.g. from retail trade manager to health care worker). The skills and experience acquired are taken into account when a holder of a Federal VET Diploma enrols in a second VET programme. It is up to the cantonal authority to decide, in each case, on a reduction of the duration of the VET programme and exemptions from subjects at the VET school. It is no longer necessary to attend instruction in language, communication and society (LCS) during the second VET programme as it is not directly linked to the occupational skills that have been acquired. A change in occupation within the same branch often occurs. Thus a person holding a Federal VET Diploma in Architectural Drawing may complete a reduced apprenticeship for a VET programme leading to issuance of a Federal VET Diploma in Masonry if that person's skills and experience are taken into account.