Leading Houses (link) are a form of enhancing effective development of research in the field of vocational training in Switzerland. They came into effect in 2004 as a result of the new law on vocational education and are subsidized by the Swiss Federal Office for Professional Education and Training / OPET (link). Four Leading Houses are actually operating – all of them are attached to a Swiss University and each of them is a competence centre in a special domain.
The basic aim of the Leading House 'Quality of Vocational Education and Training' at the University of Fribourg, already operating since 2003, is to create sustainable research in Switzerland in the domain of vocational education and training quality. Since its start, significant steps have been taken to achieve these objectives:
- Research projects.
An important mission of the Leading House is to design and coordinate its own research programs which contribute to the field:
Program 1 (link), Program 2 (link), Program 3 (link), Finalized Programs (link).
- Promotion of young researchers and networking.
The Leading House gives them the opportunity to write masters' and PhD-theses or to complete their 'habilitation' (postdoctoral teaching qualification), organizes theme-specific congresses where they can meet other people involved in the mentioned field and present their projects to the scientific community. Furthermore, congresses and meetings enable them to cultivate contacts and to establish an international network of experts. Young researchers are also encouraged to and assisted in participating in advanced training courses, such as – amongst others – the 'Swiss Summer School on Methods in the Social Sciences', as well as in international events.
- Platform to facilitate publications (link).
The Leading House also provides a platform for publishing. The book series 'Berufsbildungsforschung Schweiz' and the new series of a Journal entitled 'Educational Research on Vocational Education and Training / ERVET' in English give insight into the ongoing research for the public and the scientific community.
- Research in different language regions of Switzerland.
To enhance VET research not merely in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, the Leading House not only collaborates closely with the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training / SFIVET (link) in Zollikofen but also in Lugano and Lausanne and with the HEF-TS in Givisiez (link).