Regional skills platforms
The Government initiative was adopted in 2010.
It involves structured and focused work to improve skills supply and increase collaboration between employers, education providers and authorities.
To improve the national co-ordination of skills supply and to strengthen local and regional cooperation between public institutions and agencies in charge of skills supply. Set up platforms for cooperation in skill supply and short and long-term educational planning in each region.
The instrument aims to counteract mismatch challenges by supporting the development of structures, processes and different methods that will contribute to improved skills supply at the regional level.
Aim of policy instrument
Main responsible body
The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth
In each of the 21 regions in Sweden, an actor is responsible for the implementation of regional growth policy. They are called regional development actors. This actor may be a county council, a joint body or a county administrative board. All regions should develop a regional development strategy. It shall be based on an analysis of the conditions in the county and contain goals, orientation and prioritization for regional growth. The Government's National Strategy for Sustainable Regional Growth and Attractiveness 2015-2020 shall inform all those working nationally or regionally for regional growth.
The regional skills platforms as a whole is a project assigned by the Government to the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth worth SEK 60 million in 2013-2017. All regions have had one or more projects to develop regional skills platforms. The projection for the projects in 2017 is SEK 16 million. The regions still have a mission to continue developing these skills platforms. The regions finance the work and prioritise it differently depending on the region's challenges in terms of skills supply.
The general public, as the citizens' opportunities for work and income increase through better functioning of the provision of skills in the region. The business and public sector's prospects for recruiting the right staff are strengthened through better functioning of the provision of skills in the region.
Use of labour market intelligence
The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth funded projects in the regions to strengthen the provision of data analysis and develop a knowledge base on skill needs. In the regions, analyses of different industries' skills needs are used to create consensus among the stakeholders about the region's needs in the short and long term perspective. Some regions have the resources to independently develop and interpret this type of material. Other regions use subsets of data from the national level. The policy instrument's projects in this area are either about developing completely new or better methods for developing knowledge on skill needs or improving how to use existing data.
The regions have been able to apply for funding for projects during the period 2013-2017. About 40 projects in the regions are ongoing to strengthen and further develop the work.
Frequency of updates
Provision of data analysis and intelligence on skills and labour markets are central aspects in several regions' platforms. How often analyses are made and in what ways varies among regions.
The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth has proposed national guidelines for the for the regional skills development work. The guidelines include a clearer control of how and what knowledge base to be provided for the regional skills supply work. In accordance with the mission, regional development actors have established the platforms based on regional conditions. This has meant that the platforms have had different purposes, focus, function, resources and organizational residence. The variation has complicated the dialogue and the relationship at the national level, and it has been difficult to describe the role and function of the platforms from a management perspective.
The prerequisites for implementing the policy instrument relies heavily on the regions involved. Their ability, understanding and willingness to implement the rational that underlies the policy instrument is crucial for success. The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth has proposed national guidelines for the regional skills development work. However, in their role as development managers, the regions have a limited mandate themselves. They can mainly act as a catalyst for cooperation, create meeting places, act as knowledge-makers and inspirators by developing new knowledge and testing new ways of working and ideas.
Participants at local, regional and national level agree on what should be included in basic regional competence management work in all regions.
The regulation includes assignments to regional development officers to implement, follow up and report the results of regional development work. In March 2018, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth will deliver a final report regarding the instrument to the government. In a joint development project, the regions have developed a set of matching indicators for regional skill needs. Indicators have been developed in two main areas: indicators that describe the conditions for matching and indicators that describe actual matching. According to the national guidelines for the regional skills development work proposed by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, the indicators will be monitored regularly.
By awarding all regions the opportunity to develop a regional development plan, the government has demanded an attention to skill needs issues in all parts of the country. Because all regions were given the same mission, momentum was created. The instrument is probably not unique, and Sweden has previously worked to share analyses and collaboration.
Evidence of effectiveness
The result of the investment in regional skills platforms is primarily long-term and it is difficult to evaluate effects. The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth will give a final report of the instrument to the government in March 2018. In an overview of the development projects between 2013-2017, the Agency concludes that the projects work primarily with building up work processes. A clear majority of the projects have a system perspective - they work to coordinate the actors responsible for the provision of skills. Many of the projects draw up strategies, action plans and similar documents that can steer the work. They develop processes to create consensus and dialogue. Other projects provide support for knowledge and analysis, as well as support for education planning. The Swedish labour market is improving, but it is difficult to say what effect the Regional Skills platforms have had on this trend.
Engagement of stakeholders
The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth will give a final report of the instrument to the Government in March 2018. The Agency's proposal for guidelines for regional competence management, as reported in June 2017, constitutes an important basis for the continued regional skills supply work. The proposals are currently being prepared by the Government Offices. The instrument is dependent on funding from the Government and co-funding from the regions.
To the extent that governments in other countries can give assignments to their regions. A corresponding regulation can help to raise broad awareness on skills needs issues.
The instrument has quite good opportunities to continue. What form it assumes depends on how the government chooses to proceed with the funding and with the implementation of the national guidelines for the regional growth work, proposed by The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth.