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History of Vocational Education and Training in Europe

Cases, Concepts and Challenges


Edited By Esther Berner and Philipp Gonon

Understanding today’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) systems requires a comprehension of the rise and development, i.e. of the foundations of topical VET. This book provides a comparative view of its development in Europe. The contributions of renowned authors give insight into conceptual questions, cases and challenges in this field.

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Modern Apprenticeship and Teknikcollege: Historical Roots of two Current Features of Swedish Vocational Education


Abstract: In Sweden a statist skill formation system has been prevailing for a long time, but recently new initiatives have been taken to increase company participation. In this paper we discuss the most important ones: modern apprenticeship and the concept of the Teknikcollege. While the former has struggled with considerable difficulties, the latter is successful. To understand why this is the case, we analyse their historical roots. Apprenticeship, also in its previous forms, has only been wholeheartedly supported by the labour market parties over short periods, and the absence of apprenticeship legislation has implied that this training form has often been insecure and considered a second-best option. Teknikcollege, like earlier company schools, on the other hand, is a locally grounded bottom-up approach with strong support from companies, trade unions, and the local community. However, Teknikcollege is relatively marginal and it remains an open question if it could be scaled up and challenge the statist system.

1.  Introduction

Sweden is considered a typical example of a statist skill formation system, with only marginal involvement of companies (Busemeyer & Trampusch 2012). The marginalisation of companies in the sphere of education is often explained by the Swedish parliament’s decision of 1968 to establish an organisationally coherent upper secondary school. Among other things, this reform meant that vocational schools were integrated with theoretical programmes in upper secondary school where several two-year vocational programmes were started. The new programmes were broad and industry- rather than occupation-specific. Municipalities became the...

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