Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Database of labour market practices

This database gathers practices in the field of employment submitted by European countries for the purposes of mutual learning. These practices have proven to be successful in the country concerned, according to its national administration. The European Commission does not have a position on the policies or measures mentioned in the database.

Sweden Motivational study course in folk high schools
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Original Title: Studiemotiverande folkhögskolekurs (SMF)
Country: Sweden
Responsible body: The Swedish Employment office and Swedish National Council of Adult Education
Name(s) of other organisations involved (partners / sub-contractors): Local Public Employment Service (PES), Folk High Schools
Start Year of implementation: 2010
End Year of implementation: Ongoing
EU policy relevance: Making it easier for young people aged 16–24 to start, or return to, regular compulsory or upper secondary school education.
National labour market context:

In recent years, relative unemployment among young people (15-24 years) has been more than four times higher than unemployment among adults (25-54 years), according to statistics from Statistics Sweden who measure the official unemployment rates by means of the Labour Force Survey (LFS). The proportion of NEETs in the 15-24 age group is estimated at approximately 7% of the age group in Sweden. In 2014 this corresponded to 86,500 young people.

As in other countries, there is great heterogeneity within this group, and many of the young people have not completed upper secondary education. Young people born in other countries are over-represented, as are young people with mental or physical disabilities. In particular, the proportion of young people with neuropsychiatric disabilities has grown in recent years.

The unemployment rate for young people under 25 years of age has increased during the last decade and rose sharply during the financial crisis 2008. The unemployment rate for young people under 25 was 22.9% (2014). The unemployment rate for young people has decreased during the last year and was 16,0 percent the third quarter of 2015. Most young people have short periods of unemployment, but also short employment spells. Approximately half of the young people who are unemployed are studying. The relative unemployment rate between young people and adults is greater in Sweden than in many other countries, and the age of establishment in the labour market for young people, i.e. when at least 75% of youths in a cohort are in employment, has risen by nearly 10 years between the 1980s and today, from 20 years to nearly 30.

Policy area: Active labour market policies, Education and training systems
Specific policy or labour market problem being addressed:
  • Raising the education-level and strengthening the competitiveness of the target group in the labour market. 
  • Helping young jobseekers without school-leaving certificates to improve their employability
Aims and objectives of the policy or measure: The SMF aims at boosting, motivating and preparing students for education. The aim is to make it easier for the participants to start or restart regular education, and the course is adapted to learners’ individual needs.
Main activities / actions underpinning the policy or measure: Three months preparatory labour market-course at a folk high school which can contain courses of orientation and motivational character. Folk high schools are adult education institutions that operate as learning communities and are based on liberal education principles. Learning-by-doing is a basic educational philosophy of the schools, and their core methods are dialogue-based and experiential. They do not grant academic degrees but prepare a participant for further education on a particular field of study which in the end, can lead to that the participant can study at the University.
Geographical scope of policy or measure: Regional
Target groups: Disabled people, Young people (aged 16 to 25 years)
Outputs and outcomes of the policy or measure:

The monitoring and follow-up by the Swedish National Council of Adult Education showed that folk high school’s helped participants continue onto further study and helped boost their self-confidence. Students suggested they were empowered by being given responsibility, they could influence how the course was structured and were motivated by the special folk high school environment. All of these aspects encouraged them to continue into further education. 

The Public Employment Service’s (PES) evaluation of the initiative’s outcome shows positive results for the young people participating in the activities, in terms of a greater increase in transitions to further studies at the end of the course, than otherwise would have been expected.

The study motivational courses had 5 167 students in 121 schools in 2013. Among the 3 888 persons who participated in the equivalent course the previous year, 38 per cent had advanced to further studies after a year, and 14 per cent had found a job within six months.As indicated, the results show that there are positive effects of transition to regular studies on young people (16–24) who have taken part of the initiative/SMF in 2010–2012. Participants leave unemployment and increasingly turn to other studies than they would have done otherwise. The impact in terms of improved transition to further education is less for young people with disabilities with reduce work capability and young people born outside Sweden.

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