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.
To promote young people's contacts with employers, the government proposes ways to further strengthen the links between school and work. It includes increased resources to establish apprenticeships in both upper secondary school and adult education. Training providers like schools and employers offering apprenticeships will receive grants.
Upper secondary vocational education is strengthened by resources to improve quality, increase attraction and throughput and reduce the dropout rate. It includes for example, skills development opportunities for teachers and efforts to increase the percentage of vocational teachers with academic degrees.
Workplace-based learning (in Sweden at least about 15% of a full vocational programme) is considered an important, but also a controversial part of training. Quality strengthening government support is therefore proposed.
The recession will be used to equip people with knowledge for the future. Young people should be given the opportunity to complement and improve their skills for the future. To support unemployed young people who have dropped out of upper secondary education and training, further study motivational measures and active mediation efforts with clear requirements are suggested as well as the possibility for long-term unemployed to get higher subsidies. Measures for increased activity requirements in municipal adult education should be evaluated and training efforts undertaken to improve guidance in primary, secondary and upper secondary schools.
Both to strengthen young people’s skills for the future and to meet demand for education that comes from the weak economic climate, the government proposes an increase in the number of places in the regular education system with focus on adult vocational training (VET training for adults, adult apprenticeships and folk high schools). Even post-secondary vocational education as part of the higher vocational education system and tertiary education at universities are proposed to receive an increased number of student places.
Labour market policy measures are also part of the proposal. This means that employers who hire young people, who have been unemployed for 12 months, are to receive a subsidy equal to twice the payroll tax, which is an increase of current opportunities. Labour market mobility should be encouraged so that long-term unemployed young people will be able to claim relocation allowances. Young people who turn down offers of suitable work risk compensation loss.
The government also calls for additional youth investment, in collaboration with unions and employers as part of a jobs pact.