President of the Confederation and EAER head Guy Parmelin signed a new memorandum of understanding on cooperation between Switzerland and the USA in the field of vocational education and training. Signed in Washington on 18 November, the agreement signals intensifying knowledge exchange between education and business stakeholders active in the public and private sectors in Switzerland and the USA.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by Mr Parmelin and US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, US Secretary of Labour Marty Walsh and US Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves builds on the two countries’ years of work together on vocational education and training. Their cooperation was first established through a joint declaration in 2015 and then institutionalised through a three-year MoU in 2018.
Switzerland and the USA aim to promote dialogue and exchange information, experience and best practices in the area of vocational education and training. The agreement calls for direct contact, partnerships and joint undertakings between companies, project execution agencies and other vocational education and training stakeholders. Reciprocal delegation visits and expert meetings are also to be organised.
After the MoU was signed, US and Swiss company representatives participated in a roundtable discussion on vocational education and training.
The last MoU led to a number of promising initiatives to generate and facilitate knowledge transfer between Switzerland and the USA. For example, before the COVID-19 pandemic several US delegations visited Switzerland every year to see the Swiss vocational education and training system for themselves. Following these visits, several US states launched initiatives to promote vocational education and training similar to the Swiss model. Swiss companies with US locations also play an important role in knowledge transfer, as the apprenticeships they offer make a significant contribution to raising awareness of the Swiss vocational education and training model.