Job and Education Initiative for better labour market introduction

Labour market Sweden has a skills shortage. At present Sweden has a gap between those who have and those who do not have good knowledge and skills. Growing knowledge gaps are a consequence both of problems in the Swedish school system and of a high level of refugee immigration over several years. The problems were brought to a head by the historically high number of asylum seekers in 2015, now being followed by steeply rising numbers of new arrivals seeking introduction into the labour market.

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Foto: Lars Forsstedt

Facilitate entry into the labour market

Many newly arrived immigrants seeking introduction lack the knowledge and skills required in the Swedish labour market. In the opinion of LO the social partners cannot allow a growing group to be excluded from the labour market. New, more straightforward paths to employment are needed that provide permanent establishment in the labour market.

  • LO wants to see an agreement on strengthened introduction with joint commitments from the social partners and the government. Our Job and Education Initiative proposal is part of this agreement.
  • The purpose of the Job and Education Initiative is to facilitate entry into the labour market for adults who lack sufficient knowledge and skills in relation to labour market requirements. The target group is unemployed people aged 25-45 years, of whom newly arrived immigrants constitute a growing proportion.
  • The premise is that a temporary increase in the number of people in the workforce with weak knowledge and skills that is a consequence of recent years' high refugee immigration is best dealt with through temporary agreements.
  • LO’s Job and Education Initiative means that the employees have a regular job and in addition participate in regular education, mainly outside the workplace. The worker thus gains work experience while general education builds up necessary formal knowledge. Generous student aid is required to provide good incentives for study and ensure a reasonable standard of living.
  • For employers to be interested in signing these agreements, the payroll costs need to be different from existing agreements.
  • The Job and Education Initiative is an entirely new model to reduce the division of the labour market. A crucial difference in relation to Vocational Introduction agreements is that the education is mainly to be given outside the workplace within the regular educational system.
  • · If LO is to be prepared to enter into an agreement for the Job and Education Initiative the government must meet some requirements. The government must guarantee compulsory schooling for younger newly arrived immigrants who have not completed basic schooling and the social partners need to have a greater influence over labour market policy subsidies. It is also entirely necessary for the government to provide an effective support structure for the Job and Education Initiative with good educational opportunities and financial support for studies.