Trade association

Trade associations are private organisations that defend the interests of members of a given economic branch. They bring together employers or employees. Trade associations are sometimes organised with joint representation and thus represent the social partners.

Trade associations are involved in vocational and professional education and training within the context of the collective governance relationship that exists within the Swiss VPET system between the Confederation, the cantons and professional organisations. As professional organisations, they:

  • are responsible for operational management of reform projects (preparation of VET ordinances), establishing training plans; and requesting that SERI issue corresponding VET ordinances;
  • organise VET programmes; implement branch courses, take part in qualification procedures and in the pedagogical training of VET trainers;
  • organise preparatory courses for federal examinations for tertiary-level professional qualifications;
  • provide job-related continuing education and training (CET) courses;
  • develop new job-related continuing education and training programmes;
  • foster top-quality training;
  • establish and contribute to their own funds to support vocational and professional education and training;
  • publish information on the occupations and promote their trades.