In response to technological developments and labour market needs, the government decided in December 2019 to implement the most extensive revision of initial vocational education and training (IVET) since the reform of upper secondary education in 2011. Aspiring assistant nurses in the Health and social care programme, and students of the Vehicle and transport programme are most affected.

There are 12 vocational programmes in the Swedish upper secondary school system; each provides a foundation for working life and higher education. The core content, foundation subjects and orientation are determined centrally by the government. It has revised several programmes, which will take effect for learners beginning their IVET education in 2021


Some of the revised programmes require the introduction of new courses and orientations, the merging of some courses and orientations, and the discontinuation of others. Courses and subjects are currently being developed by the National Agency for Education. They will be presented for referral in early 2020 before a final decision is made on applying them in the revised IVET programmes in 2021. The following programmes are currently under revision:

  • Child and recreation
  • Handicraft
  • Hotel and tourism
  • Natural resource use
  • Restaurant management and food
  • HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) and property maintenance.
  • Vehicle and transport
  • Health and social care

Health and social care programme revision

Assistant nurses are the country's largest profession and, as the Swedish population ages, need for them is growing. The revision of the Health and social care programme is a step towards awarding assistant nurses a protected professional title. Schools can combine different courses in programme specialisations and enable students to focus their studies on a specific vocational outcome or to meet regional and local needs in the labour market. Given that it is a non-regulated profession, there are no clear rules for what competences are required for assistant nurses. The National Board of Health and Welfare has developed competence requirements for these nurses. The revised programme meets these requirements and ensures that all graduates share common knowledge, skills and competences regardless of where in the country they complete their education. The potential introduction of a protected professional title and distinct education programme may attract more young students to the programme.

Vehicle and transport programme revision

Rapid technological developments since 2011 had an especially profound impact on the skills needed in the automotive industry. Older technologies have largely been replaced by autonomous functions, alternative power sources and new fuel technologies. Legislation and environmental requirements have become much more targeted. In order to safeguard the provision of knowledge, skills and competences required by the industry, VET programmes will have to adjust. For this reason, the Swedish National Agency of Education has undertaken revision of the Vehicle and transport programme, developing 16 new subjects and 32 new courses.

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Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden (see page 18 to get information on 12 vocational programmes)