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Sweden - more apprentices in upper secondary school

ReferNet Sweden

Vocational education and training (VET) in Sweden may be organised as school-based learning or apprenticeship. The Swedish government has recently launched measures to ensure quality in apprenticeship education. Now numbers of apprentices in Swedish upper secondary schools are slowly rising.

Recent statistics show:

  • apprentices in Swedish upper secondary schools have increased continuously from
    6 000 (autumn 2013) to 6 500 (spring 2014) to 7 300 (autumn 2014);
  • among first-grade students in upper secondary school, numbers of apprentices have risen by 9% from the year before;
  • one of four upper secondary schools providing training programmes also offer apprenticeship education;
  • of apprentices 40% are female and 60% male;
  • building and construction with 1 467 apprentices is the most popular apprenticeship programme, followed by business and administration with 811 apprentices;
  • most apprentices are found around Sweden’s three biggest cities: Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. Apprenticeship education is rare in sparsely-populated areas in the north-western part of Sweden;
  • there is no link between numbers of pupils following training programmes and numbers of apprentices. Some schools have a relatively high number of pupils in training programmes, and practically no apprentices, whereas in other schools, the situation is the opposite.

The Swedish government has recently initiated measures to ensure quality in apprenticeship education, make apprenticeship more attractive and increase numbers of apprentices:

  • representatives from the newly-established Apprenticeship Centre support VET teachers, headmasters, municipalities, employers and social partners around the country;
  • good examples of apprenticeship education are disseminated;
  • municipalities all over Sweden receive grants for developing apprenticeship education. Financial support goes mainly to VET coordinators, competence development for teachers, mentor training and to marketing and information;
  • according to a report of the University of Stockholm, grants are not of crucial importance for companies to train apprentices. The main incentive appears to be a will to help students get vocational education and secure skills within the workforce;
  • of employers 86% having trained apprentices are willing to welcome more.

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