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Successful integration of refugees in vocational education and training: Experiences from a new pre-vocational programme

Stalder, Barbara E.; Kammermann, Marlise; Michel, Iris; Schönbächler, Marie-Theres (2024). Successful integration of refugees in vocational education and training: Experiences from a new pre-vocational programme. In: Teräs, Marianne; Eliasson, Eva; Osman, Ali (eds.) Migration, Education and Employment - Pathways to Successful Integration. Education Equity Economy: Vol. 10 (pp. 133-154). Springer Nature 10.1007/978-3-031-41919-5

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The Swiss labour market is highly structured and relies on standardised vocational education and training (VET) qualifications. Generally, a Federal VET diploma (three- or four-year apprenticeship) or a Federal VET certificate (two-year apprenticeship) is a basic requirement for taking up qualified work. Asylum migrants, and in particular refugees and temporarily admitted persons (RE/TA) without a recognised qualification, thus struggle to find employment, and even several years after their arrival, their employment rate is lower than those of Swiss citizens and other migrants (Aerne & Bonoli, 2021; Spadarotto et al., 2014). Including RE/TA, first, in vocational education and training is, therefore, a key strategy to accelerate their employability. However, the implementation of this strategy is challenging. Research consistently shows that adolescents and young adults with migration backgrounds and learners with special education needs struggle to transition to upper secondary education and stable jobs (Kammermann et al., 2011; Scharnhorst & Kammermann, 2020). Such difficulties in accessing vocational education and training are more pronounced for RE/TA, as they often do not fulfil the prerequisites for beginning an apprenticeship, such as the necessary language skills or sufficient knowledge of local culture, norms, and values (Barabasch et al., 2021; Schaffner et al., 2022). Moreover, many refugees and temporarily admitted persons come from countries with low-standing VET pathways. Hence, they are unaware of the importance and meaningfulness of VET as a successful way to employment (Billett et al., 2022). All these findings highlight the importance of pre-vocational measures to support RE/TA in finding access to initial VET programmes. The “pre-apprenticeship programme to support integration” PAI, examined in more detail in this chapter, is one of those measures.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)

PHBern Contributor:

Stalder, Barbara E., Kammermann, Marlise, Michel, Iris, Schönbächler, Marie-Theres




Education Equity Economy


Springer Nature


[18 s 0007 01] Integrationsvorlehre für Flüchtlinge und vorläufig Aufgenommene (INVOL) Official URL




Barbara E. Stalder

Date Deposited:

25 Oct 2023 14:15

Last Modified:

27 Oct 2023 13:32

Publisher DOI:





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