The Swedish labour market is experiencing skill shortages in several occupational sectors. Acknowledging a persisting high demand for vocational training, the government approved at the end of 2023 a substantial budget increase for 2024 for regional initial VET for adults and for higher vocational education.  

The budget increase in the field of VET aims to meet the continuously expanding skill needs throughout Sweden, a need pointed out by the Labour Market Tendency Survey 2023.

2023 survey highlights skills shortages 

Many companies have difficulties in finding the right skilled workers. The 2023 Labour Market Tendency Survey, conducted by Statistics Sweden, identified major labour shortages in healthcare and technology. More specifically, employers are struggling to find graduates from upper secondary vocational training programmes, especially in the field of automation and information communication technology. Workers specialised in electrical engineering, energy production, electronics, data science, and automation are pointed out as groups that will be particularly sought after.

Increase of VET budget and training places

VET plays an important role in combatting these skill shortages, which explains the Swedish government’s response of a proposed budget increase. The proposal for the budget bill for 2024 assigns around EUR 119 340 000 to strengthen regional vocational adult education, an increase of 47% compared to the 2023 budget. Moreover, a budget of around EUR 33 733 166 is assigned for higher vocational education, which is an increase of 6% compared to 2023. These funds correspond to approximately a total of 16 500 new full-year places for regional initial VET for adults, an increase of 25 % compared to 2023. For higher vocational training, this investment is estimated at approximately 3 000 new full-year places for 2024. The proposal was approved by the Swedish parliament in December 2023. About 3 000 new full-year places for 2025, and 7 000 for 2026 are foreseen, a decision which needs to be officially approved. Thanks to the increased budget, there are more training places available for professions such as assistant nurses, battery technicians or train drivers.

Ministers emphasise the importance of VET

According to Johan Pehrson, Minister for Labour Market and Integration, investment in VET leads to real jobs. They are important investments, aimed at establishing individuals on the labour market, as well as strengthening the integration of migrants. The Minister for Education and Research, Mats Persson, stated that the needs of the labour market must lead the decisions on VET provision. Access to a labour force with the right skills is important for Sweden's competitiveness and for the possibility to attract new business investments.

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Please cite this news item as: ReferNet Sweden; Cedefop (2024). Sweden: more study places on VET to combat skill shortages. National news on VET