There are 12 national programme councils (nationella programråd), one for each of the 12 national vocational programmes, consisting of 6 to 10 representatives from industry, representatives of employer and employee organisations within the specific vocational area, and some national or regional authorities. The national programme councils work as permanent forums for dialogue between the National Agency for Education (Skolverket) and labour-market stakeholders on the quality, content and organisation of VET. The national programme councils are not decision-making bodies, as they have a consultative function with respect to the National Agency for Education. The overall aim of their work is to make the VET pathway at upper secondary level more responsive to the needs of stakeholders and to improve correspondence between VET programmes and labour market demands (Skolverk, 2012). As the apprenticeship scheme is a mode of delivery for VET programmes, they are key players also in relation to the scheme. At the local level, every upper secondary school offering VET programmes, regardless of the scheme, can organise one or several local programme councils (lokala programråd) (37) to support closer cooperation between education providers, employers and their representative organisations, and trade unions (38) on each specific programme the school offers. Although the law does not specify their tasks, the local programme councils may assist schools on several levels: arrange workplace-based learning placements for their students for both schemes; organise and assess diploma projects; and address issues such as workplace environment, workplace safety, working hours, and the expectations of the different stakeholders, as far as students’ presence at the workplace is concerned (Cedefop, Flash TCR on apprenticeships in Sweden, p. 35).
To further support VET-providers, employers and social partners in developing apprenticeship education and the quality of workplace-based learning, the Swedish Government decided in December 2013 on the establishment of an apprenticeship centre.
For each apprenticeship education for adults, it is required that a vocational council (yrkesråd) is established. The council shall include representatives of employees and employers and representatives of the teachers and students of the apprenticeship education. Other school staff and other relevant stakeholders from working life may also be included. Vocational councils are regulated in the Ordinance on state subsidy for regional adult VET (Förordning 2016:937 om statsbidrag för regional yrkesinriktad vuxenutbildning).