In 2011, Swedish upper secondary education was reformed. The current system consists of twelve vocational education and training (VET) programmes and six higher education preparatory programmes. These cover 2500 study points and are divided into several orientations.
Trainers have a key role in delivering high quality work-based learning. The Swedish national agency for education (Skolverket) has launched a web-based training of trainers programme at work-places engaged in initial vocational education and training (VET).
Higher vocational education (HVE) is post-secondary education that combines theoretical and practical studies in cooperation with employers and industry. Programmes are offered in specific fields where there is explicit demand for competence. Every year the Swedish National Agency for HVE publishes statistics on their programmes, students and students’ work situations one year after graduation. Following are the figures for 2013.
Vocational education and training (VET) in Sweden may be organised as school-based learning or apprenticeship. The Swedish government has recently launched measures to ensure quality in apprenticeship education. Now numbers of apprentices in Swedish upper secondary schools are slowly rising.
The Swedish government considers that apprenticeship programmes at upper secondary schools have an important role in easing young people’s entry to the labour market. An apprenticeship centre was therefore established under the auspices of the Swedish National Agency for Education. The budget for 2014 also includes several other proposals geared at increasing attractiveness of apprenticeship programmes.
By exchanging ideas and experience on apprenticeships and work-based learning, Nordic countries including the Faroe Islands and Åland, can learn from one another. A priority initiative during Swedish presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2013, ‘Learning at work - quality of work-based learning in Nordic countries (2013-15)’ aims to ease transition from education to work.
The goal of the Swedish government is full employment. An important part of achieving this goal is to create wider pathways to jobs for groups with a weak foothold in the labour market. The labour market situation for young people (20-24 years) causes extra concern. The youth unemployment rate has increased for a long time and has since the beginning of the 2000s remained at high levels. Due to the European economic crisis Sweden is also entering into a recession with many layoffs and job cuts as a result.
For ReferNet’s 10th anniversary, Margaretha Allen and Ulrika Hallin wrote a story illustrating how the common EU tools will, in the near future, open up opportunities for citizens - for learning, working, and for building exciting and fulfilling careers.
Collaboration among government, local municipalities and businesses concerning additional labour market and education measures will enable those affected by the Saab company bankruptcy to recover and develop in new fields of innovation.
Thousands of Swedish teenagers have these past months not only started their upper secondary studies but also marked the beginning of a new reform. Adopted in 2010 the reform aims at increasing throughput and better adapting education programmes to requirements in different sectors and occupational areas. For students in IVET programmes changes include new admission requirements, study pathways and the introduction of a vocational diploma.