2nd International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education and Training from 20 - 22 June 2016

From Skills to Prosperity – Sharing Elements of Success

Switzerland’s dual-track Vocational Education and Training system is one of our country’s great strengths. The initial and continuing training of young people is the foundation that enables our economy and society to have an adequate number of skilled workers and managers. The private and public sector share responsibility for the vocational education and training sector and work together as partners.

The second edition of the International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education and Training took place from June 20-22 2016. The theme to be explored by this edition was «From Skills to Prosperity – Sharing Elements of Success». Its focus lied on the international exchange of successful principles within different VPET systems. The Congress offered the opportunity to share and learn from the experiences made in different education systems all over the world and to find out about the core elements leading to successful learning and implementation.

Highlights of the event included numerous excellent speeches, exciting seminars and visits to Swiss training companies and commercial schools.

In 2014, the Confederation has launched the first international congress devoted exclusively to vocational education and training. The main focus was on image building, bilateral exchanges between the private sector and policymakers and the presentation of «good practice» in host companies and vocational education and training schools.

The congress is supported by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), the Canton of Zurich, professional organisations and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW). For all of these sponsors, the International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education and Training is of great strategic importance.

The third such Congress will be held in 2018.  It will take place between 6 and 8 June 2018 in Winterthur.


Target audience


The long-term goal of the VPET Congress is to provide a platform for networking and dialogue. At its core is the sharing of expertise and the strengthening of the vocational education and «good practice» on an international level. The Congress presents a fertile group for the development of new ideas.

It is intended for participants from

  • national and international ministries
  • local and international educational establishments
  • local and transnational enterprises
  • local and international associations
  • international experts in the vocational education and training field
  • representatives of international organizations
  • HR managers

General conditions

Number of participants: The number of participants is limited. Experts from all over the world may attend this congress.
Languages: English (main language), German, French
Simultaneous interpreting: Yes

Winterthur – host town

Winterthur is the sixth largest town in Switzerland. In 2008, with over 100,000 inhabitants, it became the center of a self-confident and growing region in close proximity to Zurich and its international airport. Globally active industrial companies such as Sulzer and Rieter have been based in this town for quite some time. While the engineering, electrical and metalworking industry plays a predominant role in the region, a well-balanced mix of economic branches can also be found here. Winterthur offers good living standards - and is an important and appealing location for education and training!

Winterthur is home to the Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften (ZHAW), which is the largest UAS-affiliated college in Switzerland, as well as to numerous other vocational education and training and professional education and training institutions. The Schweizerische Technische Fachschule Winterthur enjoys a Swiss-wide reputation as an important training and continuing training institution for technical professions. The Ausbildungszentrum Winterthur (azw) provides training in industrial and trade professions. In addition, the professional organisation Swissmem runs both a management school in Winterthur and a competence center for training in the engineering, electrical and metalworking industry. Two international schools offer courses in English (e.g. for children of numerous expatriates employed by internationally active companies in Winterthur and whose families live here). In addition, Winterthur is also ideally situated at the heart of the Zurich-Eastern Switzerland region, which is a nationally and internationally renowned higher education region thanks to such institutions as the University of Zurich, the University of St. Gallen, the University of Konstanz, ETH Zurich and ZHAW.

Rich with tradition and crossed by the Eulach River, Winterthur offers high living standards and enjoys an outstanding reputation as a location for technology and education. It is home to numerous multinational companies and top-notch education institutions. The outstanding location – only 15 minutes by road or rail from the Zurich International Airport – is only one of the many benefits that Winterthur has to offer.

St. Alban's Festival 24 June - 26 June 2016

It is considered to be Europe's largest annual city festival: every year towards the end of June the St. Alban's Festival beckons more than 100'000 people who love to celebrate to the city centre of Winterthur. The St. Alban's Festival is the festival of the associations in Winterthur: every year up to 100 clubs and societies replenish their coffers with their novel festival booths. There are no limits to the culinary delights on offer and, of course, music has to play a part, too; often live bands in the festival booths make for high spirits. However the most attention is given to the ludicrous rides, which catapult the high-spirited into the air and let all other gaze in amazement.


Winterthur at a glance – Facts & Figures

  • Sixth largest town in Switzerland, with over 100,000 inhabitants
  • 15 minutes by rail or road to the Zurich International Airport
  • 20 minutes by rail or road to Zurich
  • Winterthur main station: the fourth most frequent rail destination in Switzerland
  • Town nestled amid seven wooded hills
  • Town with the largest proportion of woodland in Switzerland
  • Around 20 (420,000 m2) public parks
  • Over 4,500 companies
  • Over 56,000 jobs
  • Each day around 28,000 out-of-town commuters
  • 10,000 students enrolled in tertiary-level education and training
  • Over 400 restaurants
  • 16 museums, 7 theatres, 7 public libraries
  • Over 300 sports associations
  • Over 50 public playgrounds and facilities 
  • Over 175 km of cycling routes through town
  • European competence center for photography
  • Home of Swiss comedy scene
  • Swiss Science Center Technorama

Congress venues

The Winterthur Theatre and ZHAW Campus

With the Winterthur Theatre and the nearby ZHAW Campus on St. Georgen-Platz/Mäander, conferences may be organised in these luxurious facilities. The premises are only one hundred metres from the Winterthur main station and are representative of the importance of Winterthur as a location for education. It is both rich with tradition and international in focus.

All conference requirements are readily met, whether it be in terms of conference room space, catering, technical equipment and logistics. Located in downtown Winterthur, the venue is easily and efficiently reachable by public transport or by car. For foreign guests, the immediate vicinity of the Zurich International Airport is a key advantage.

Map Winterthur (PDF)

Congress Hotel Banana City Theater Winterthur Halle 52 Casinotheater Winterthur ZHAW
Schaffhauserstrasse 8 Theaterstrasse 6 Katharina-Sulzer-Platz Stadthausstrasse 119 Theaterstrasse 15c
8400 Winterthur 8402 Winterthur 8400 Winterthur 8400 Winterthur 8400 Winterthur
Switzerland Switzerland Switzerland Switzerland Switzerland


Social Events

Social Events in Hall 52 and in the Winterthur Theatre

We will be delighted to welcome participants of the International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education and Training at such a unique and surprising venue.

A former testing site for gas turbines, Hall 52 is now a site for all sorts of events. Here congress participants are once again reminded of the interplay between the private sector and education. Hall 52 pays tribute to the industrial tradition of the host town Winterthur.

In the evening the Winterthur Theatre presents itself in a completely in a new outfit. Guests will be thrilled not only by the quality of entertainment but also by the delicious menu.