Sweden is using ESF funding to support its aim of full employment and a more cohesive society in a sustainable economy. Better and more modern skills are one focus in this effort, while education and training initiatives for more vulnerable social groups – such as the low qualified, older workers and women – are another.
Sweden considers that jobs are fundamental to the well-being of all its citizens. For this reason, it is using ESF funding to create wider access to work for many groups of job-seekers. Over 700 ESF projects have been launched so far to help people from vulnerable groups – such as the long-term unemployed, the low skilled and young job-seekers. ESF measures are aiming to give over 75 000 such people the training, counselling, skills and help they need to get the jobs they want. An example is a project in Malmö offering one-on-one coaching to young unemployed job-seekers: 450 have already found work.
Similar projects throughout Sweden are offering many job-seekers their first chance to join the workforce. Immigrant job-seekers are also being supported – for example, in a project in Örebro led by a housing association that helped its unemployed tenants to get the language skills and training they needed to find work.
ESF measures are encouraging employers and entrepreneurs to help their workers get the skills they need to improve performance, adaptability and their job prospects. Over 1200 projects for training, skills and qualifications have been funded so far – and the aim is to offer such opportunities to 240 000 people. Projects are helping employees to get the skills to improve their employers’ export performance and to equip young people to work in the public services of the future. In Stockholm, small companies with few employees are being helped with training courses in leadership, management and marketing – over 2200 have taken part including many women and immigrant entrepreneurs.
Such ESF-backed projects are helping Swedish industry offer job and career opportunities to people at a time when the supply of suitably skilled workers is falling.