Transitional options

The transitional options that are available after compulsory education prepare young people for VET programmes and increases their chances on the apprenticeship market by improving their skills. Transitional options are intended to fill in gaps resulting from inadequate scholastic performance and introduce young people to apprenticeship training. These options also enable young people to consolidate their choice of occupation. Transitional options can last for up to a year.

There are numerous reasons to choose transitional options. Certain occupations require specific competences in particular school subjects that were not adequately mastered in compulsory education. In other cases, it is the young people themselves who, due to their lack of maturity or poor scholastic performance, are not capable of starting a VET programme. Many of young people, however, enrol in transitional options simply because they are unable to find a suitable apprenticeship position.

  • Bridge-year courses (10th school year)
    Bridge year courses only provide instruction in academic subjects without any practical training. It is generally a year spent preparing for the choice of occupation, or attending schools that prepare for VET programmes or integration classes or courses.
    Integration courses are intended for young people who speak a foreign language; they quickly enable them to acquire the necessary skills in the local language and integrate into social life. In addition, these courses prepare students for VET programmes. The format of integration courses varies from one canton to another.
  • Pre-apprenticeships
    Pre-apprenticeships are a transitional option that includes practical training and classroom instruction. The week is generally divided as follows: two days per week at a school and three days in a company. The practical training is sometimes carried out in the school’s own workshops.
  • Preparatory courses
    These are transitional options that are made available by VET schools. They include practical work in their own workshops.

Motivation semesters are sponsored by unemployment insurance. They are intended for young people who have completed compulsory education, dropped out of upper-secondary school and / or have not yet found an apprenticeship position. The aim is to find them an apprenticeship or traineeship position and thus make it easier for them to enrol in a VET programme.

Learning a foreign language is another transitional option. Young people generally organise language stays with the help of their parents. They attend a language school in another linguistic region of Switzerland or abroad. In many cases, they stay with a family and help with household chores and/or look after the children (au pair work).