Reference year 2019

    1Scheme history

    Q1. When was the scheme introduced?
    Long history (before 2000)
    Recently introduced (between 2000-2012)
    New pathway (after 2012)

    Introduced in 2011.

    Q2. How did the apprenticeship scheme originate?
    Traditional craftsmanship (master-apprentice relation) to prepare apprentices for the occupation
    School-based VET track by including more work-based learning to supply skilled workforce to match labour market needs

    It originated from formal VET at upper secondary level including more work-based learning than formal VET.


    Q3. Does the legal basis define the minimum and maximum age limits for enrolment of the target group of this scheme?
    Minimum and maximum age limits defined
    Minimum age limits defined only

    The legal basis sets only the maximum age limit to access upper secondary education, which is 20 years old. After that, adult education starts.

    Q4. What is the average age of learners in practice?
    Between 15 and 18
    Between 18 and 24
    Above 24

    Typically, between 16 and 18/19. Adult education is offered for learners above the age of 20.

    Q5. How many learners are enrolled in this scheme?

    In 2018/19 there were 352,300  students in upper secondary school (gymnasieskolan) in Sweden. Of those, 99,200 students participated in a vocational education programme for upper secondary school. Over 13,300 students participated in the Apprenticeship program at upper secondary school (12 percent of those in upper secondary VET and 3 percent of all those in upper secondary education). There was an increase of over 1,100 apprentices compared with the previous year. While the number of vocational students in general has decreased, the number participating in apprenticeship has increased.


    Q7. Are the qualifications included in the National Qualification Framework (NQF)?
    There is no NQF

    In the Swedish National Qualifications Framework (SeQF), apprenticeship qualifications are obtained at Level 4, corresponding to EQF level 4.

    Q8. Is the scheme included in the ISCED 2011 mapping?

    Programme code 304 in the ISCED mapping.

    ISCED 354 for learners in upper secondary level.

    ISCED 343,353 for learners 17-20 years with special educational needs.

    Q10. Which is the type of qualification obtained through the apprenticeship scheme?
    Formal VET qualification (which does not indicate the pathway)
    Formal VET qualification (which indicates the pathway)
    Formal apprenticeship qualification (journeyman, etc.)

    After completing an upper secondary or adult vocational education, either through school-based education or an apprenticeship, learners receive a Vocational Diploma for upper secondary education.

    Normally, the final qualification indicates that the student has been an apprentice, but in some minor cases, due to the computer programme that the school uses, this is not reported.

    Before considering new graduates fully qualified for a given trade, in some sectors, an additional period of on-the-job training or work placement in a company (färdigutbildning) is required after the completion to the Vocational Diploma.

    Q11. Does the scheme provide direct access to higher education?

    All students have the right to study the courses that will give eligibility for entry to higher education. In some VET programmes, these courses are built into the programme structure, while in other programmes the learner may need to take the courses as additional to their programme.

    Apprenticeships are not available at the higher vocational level. Students who have apprenticeship qualifications from upper secondary level may continue studying within higher vocational education programmes.


    Q13. Is there any organization at the national level with roles in co-ordinating the scheme?

    There is no such organisation. However, an apprenticeship centre was set up at the National Agency for education (see Q38). The centre is run by the Swedish National Agency for Education and its tasks cover to different extent all policy challenges of apprenticeship, including supporting and giving advice to VET-providers, employers and social partners in, for example, the organisation of apprenticeship education and training for supervisors at workplaces, as well as stimulating cooperation at regional level between schools and the world of work.

    Q14. What is the role of chambers, employers’ and employees’ representatives, sectoral councils (if existent), in shaping apprenticeship content, as per regulation?
    Role in designing qualification
    Role in designing curricula
    No role

    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).

    Q15. What is the role of chambers, employers’ and employees’ representatives in implementing the apprenticeship scheme, as per regulation?
    Role in final assessment of apprentices
    Role in accreditation of companies
    Role in monitoring of the in-company training
    No role

    They have a role in helping the schools by providing information and support about the working life.

    5Training at the workplace

    Q17. Is it compulsory to alternate training between two learning venues (school and company)?

    Within Apprenticeship at upper secondary level, at least half of the learning must take place in the workplace. In adult apprenticeships, at least 70% must be in the workplace.

    Q18. Is the in-company training defined as minimum share of the apprenticeship scheme duration?
    Yes, equivalent or more than 50% of scheme duration
    Yes, between 20% and 50% of the scheme duration
    Yes, less than 20% of the scheme duration
    No, no minimum share is compulsory

    Within the apprenticeship at the upper secondary level, at least half of the education must be carried out in the workplace, as per law. In adult apprenticeships, at least 70% must be carried out in the workplace.

    Q19. Is there a distinction between the training time and working time for the period spent at workplace, as per regulation?
    Yes, the legal framework makes this distinction
    No, the legal framework makes no distinction
    Q20. What is the form of alternation of training between workplace (company) and school?
    Every week includes both venues
    One or more weeks (less than 1 month) spent at school followed by one or more weeks at workplace
    One or more months (less than 1 year) spent at school followed by one or more months at workplace
    A longer period (1-2 years) spent at school followed by a longer period spent training at workplace
    Various – depends on agreements between the school and the company
    Not specified

    Upper secondary schools are responsible for finding apprenticeship placements in companies and deciding on how to organise, plan and follow up on the implementation of the apprenticeship. That said, learning may be organised flexibly in a variety of ways according to the needs of the various parties. One school may have so called ‘apprenticeship classes’ where learners are enrolled in different vocational programmes and meet at school for common lessons in the foundations of subjects. Another school may have just a few learners within a vocational programme pursuing the apprenticeship pathway. Whereas many will start their workplace-based learning during the first year at upper secondary school, others will start in their second or third year. This is due to that Sweden has a very decentralized school system where the national agency of education determines (together with the social partners) what should be taught, and all how and where is up to the school to decide.

    Q22. Is the company hosting apprentices required by regulation to follow a training plan at the workplace?
    Yes, the training plan is based on the national/sectoral requirements for the in-company training
    Yes, the training plan is agreed at the level of school and company
    No, is not required formally
    Q23. What are the requirements on companies to provide placements, as per regulation?
    Have to provide a suitable learning environment
    Have to provide a mentor / tutor / trainer

    Companies have to sign training contracts with each apprentice.

    The apprentice must also be appointed a supervisor/trainer, who must have ‘the necessary skills and experience’ for the task and who is considered ‘generally suitable’.

    There is an increased focus on the supervisor’s important role in delivering high quality workplace-based learning. The National Agency for Education for Education has therefore developed a web-based course for the supervisors of apprentices at workplace. The course consists of four introductory general modules and a supplementary module. The introductory modules review e.g. receiving and introducing the apprentice, responsibilities of different parties, upper secondary VET in general, pedagogical methods, and monitoring and feedback practices. The supplementary module delves deeper into supporting and stimulating the apprentice and planning the work. The introductory modules are estimated to require two days and the supplementary module one day to complete. The course is not compulsory, but in order for the employer to receive the extra state subsidy, the supervisor must have completed this course or an equivalent training.

    Q25. Are there any sanctions on companies that do not provide training to apprentices at the workplace?

    No sanctions, but, in practice, should the company fail to provide training in accordance with the education contract, the school would not continue co-operation with that company.

    6Contract and compensation

    Q26. What is the status of the learner?
    Only student
    Only employee
    Apprentice is a specific status (student and employee combined)

    If the employer chooses to employ the apprentice and an apprenticeship employment contract is signed, the status of the apprentice is that of a student vis-à-vis the tripartite learning agreement and should not perform tasks without a guidance of a supervisor at the workplace. Simultaneously they also have the status of an ‘apprentice employee’ vis-à-vis the employer, when it comes to endurance and other aspects if there is a regulation about that in the collective agreements of that trade.

    Q27. Is there any written arrangement between the learner and company, required as per regulation?

    Governance and regulations are, with a few exceptions, the same irrespective of whether the vocational programme is school-based or an apprenticeship. Regulations steering apprenticeships were introduced in the Education Act and in the Upper Secondary School Ordinance following the reform in 2011 (Regulations and general guidelines on study and vocational guidance (SKOLFS 2013:180). Steering documents in the form of curricula, diploma goals and syllabuses are drawn up by the Swedish government and by the National Agency for Education.

    Q28. What is the nature of the written arrangement?
    Apprenticeships are an ordinary employment contract
    Apprenticeships are a specific type of contract
    Another type of formal agreement, not a contract

    A training contract is obligatory for every apprentice according to the national School Law (Skollagen 2010:800 Chapter 16 § 11a). This is a written agreement arranged for each learner and workplace, to be signed by the learner, school-head, and the legal entity or person responsible for the workplace training part of the apprenticeship. The head of the school shall ensure that such contracts are signed, while the school will monitor whether the education contract has been implemented. The training contract should specify the content and scope of the workplace-based learning. The training contract shall include:

    1. what parts of the education are to be carried out at the workplace and the extent of these parts; how many weeks of in-company training each semester and what times to apply for the training in the workplace;
    2. how responsibility is shared between employer and school for possible damage caused by the apprentice during workplace learning;
    3. the terms of the agreement and the grounds for termination of the agreement before the term of the agreement expires; and
    4. which teacher at the school and what supervisor at the workplace should be contact persons for the workplace-based part of the education.

    In addition, each apprentice has his/her individual learning plan.

    If the employer chooses to employ and pay wages to the apprentice, an apprenticeship employment contract must be signed by the employer and the apprentice, as per the Act on Apprenticeship Employment (Lag 2014:421om gymnasial lärlingsanställning), part of the Labour Code. It is not required that the employer hires the apprentice either during or after the studies.

    Q29. Where is the contract or the formal agreement registered?
    At the school
    At the Ministry of employment
    At the chambers
    At the Ministry of education

    Upper secondary schools are responsible for finding the in-company placements and deciding on how to organise, plan and follow up on the delivery of learning within the apprenticeship and registering the formal training agreement.

    Q30. Do apprentices receive a wage or allowance?
    Yes, all apprentices receive a wage (taxable income)
    Yes, all apprentices receive an allowance (not a form of taxable income)
    Apprentices receive a reimbursement of expenses
    No form of compensation is foreseen by law

    All students studying in upper secondary school receive a monthly study allowance. Since 2014, an apprentice can also apply for a supplement to cover extra living costs, for example transportation to the workplace and lunch. These subsidies are also funded by the Swedish government.

    As of July 2014, learners attending apprenticeship education in upper secondary school may be employed in what is called upper secondary apprentice employment. This means that the apprentice can be offered employment while still in education in accordance with adapted labour law provisions.

    Q31. How is the apprentice wage (taxable income) set?
    By law (applying for all)
    By cross-sectoral collective agreements at national or local level
    By sectoral collective agreements at national or local level
    By firm-level collective agreements or individual agreements between apprentice and company

    7Financing and incentives

    Q32. Who covers the cost of the wage or allowance of the apprentice?

    The state pays the study allowance and the supplement to cover extra living costs for apprentices at upper secondary schools.

    In cases where the apprentice has an employment contract, the employer pays the salary.

    Q33. What are the sources of financing of the direct costs for the in-company training part of the apprenticeship scheme?
    Single employers hosting apprentices
    Sectoral funds

    The major part of school funding comes from municipal tax revenues, but parts of the funding also comes from a central general government grant to the municipalities. This is supplemented by targeted central government grants for special initiatives. For apprentices, the vocational education organiser can apply for an extra government grant per apprentice and year.

    Q34. Are there any financial incentives for companies that offer apprenticeship places?
    Yes, subsidies
    Yes, tax deductions
    Yes, other incentives
    No financial incentives

    For apprentices, the vocational education organiser can apply to receive an extra government grant per apprentice and year, of which 83 % is earmarked for the employer receiving the student. Moreover, the workplace can receive an additional subsidy if the trainer/supervisor of the apprentice has participated in a training programme that has been approved by the National Agency for Education for Education.

    Q35. Does the wage or allowance of the apprentice cover both the time spent at school and in the company?
    No, it covers only the time spent in the company
    Q36. Are there any incentives for learners?
    Yes, grants paid to learners to top up their remuneration
    Yes, grants paid to learners related to other costs (travel, food etc.)
    Yes, recognition of prior learning / fast-track opportunities
    Yes, other types of incentives