One of the biggest challenges in the design of educational systems concerns how vocational education and training (VET) systems are best organized for the labour markets of tomorrow. Do we need more specialized craftsmen with practical and specific skills that tightly link to specific occupations, or do we need a shift towards broader craftsmen with more general skills? Using microdata from France, Germany, and The Netherlands, we show that there are different ways by which the VET sector establishes school-to-work linkages. Linkages between school to work are on average stronger in systems with a dual VET sector compared to a full school-based model. However, an important reason why linkages are stronger is because of compositional differences, as in dual VET systems more students tend to be enrolled in strongly linking educational programs. Moreover, VET systems are far from homogeneous, and there are large differences in how strong educational programmes link to occupations within and between countries. In general, employment is highest among the stronger linking programs, and this effect is strongest in dual VET systems. These results suggest that there is still room for occupationally oriented schooling.