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What is education obligation?

In order to be able to get a job in Sweden today you often need an education. In this podcast we will explain why this is so and you will find out what education obligation is. You will also learn who has an education obligation, what to do if you have an education obligation and how to get money in the meantime. We also give more information that will be of use for you who have an education obligation.

Textad version

Transcripton of Arbetsförmedlingens Ny i Sverige-podd: What is education obligation?

Intro music (FIRST STEP MUSIC)

(Johanna Pålsson)

In Sweden there is something called an

education obligation, but what does that actually mean?

And who has an education obligation and

what should you do if you have this education obligation?

In this episode, you'll get answers to your questions.

We are visited by Jessica Leander of the

Swedish Public Employment Service.

She will tell you everything you need to

know about the education obligation.

Let's talk about the education obligation. I'm joined in the studio

by Jessica Leander, who works for the Swedish Public

Employment Service. Jessica knows a lot about the education

obligation. Welcome, Jessica.

(Jessica Leander)


(Johanna Pålsson)

And before we start talking more about the education obligation,

it might be good to know what it is. So what is

the education obligation?

(Jessica Leander)

Well, it's a bit of a difficult term.

Obligation means that it's something you have to do.

Anyone with an education obligation must start studying.

The education obligation exists so that a person who has

recently come to Sweden will find it easier to get a job.

It's easier to get a job in Sweden if you have an education

or training.

(Johanna Pålsson)

Yes, that's very true.

(Jessica Leander)

In Sweden you need to have an education or vocational

training in order to be able to work in many professions.

For example, you need an education to work as

an assistant nurse or a carpenter.

(Johanna Pålsson)

OK, great, so now we know a little bit more. Now

I thought we'd talk about who has an education obligation.

Can you tell us a little bit about that?

(Jessica Leander)

Yes, the education obligation applies to certain persons

in the establishment programme. The education obligation

applies only to people who have received a brief education

in their home country and only if the Public Employment

Service believes that the person will therefore not be able

to get a job during the period in which she or he participates

in the establishment programme.

(Johanna Pålsson)

But what does a brief education mean?

(Jessica Leander)

By a brief education, we mean that you have not completed

a secondary school education.

Maybe you left your secondary school before you had

completed your education there.

Or perhaps you only went to school for a few years

or never went to school at all.

(Johanna Pålsson)

OK, so what happens now if you have an education obligation?

(Jessica Leander)

When you participate in the establishment programme,

you participate in activities. If you have an education obligation,

this means that most of your activities will involve studying.

In this case you will study SFI, Swedish for Immigrants,

social orientation and studies at the primary or secondary

level at Komvux or at folk high school, folkhögskola.

(Johanna Pålsson)

OK, so, well, do you want to tell me a little more about Komvux

and this folk high school?

(Jessica Leander)

Komvux is the municipality, kommuner, adult education service,

so it's an education programme for adults.

Folkhögskola is also a school for adults.

At Komvux or at folkhögskola, you can study the subjects

that people in Sweden learn about in primary or secondary

school. One example of such a subject is mathematics.

Your studies might also involve vocational training or a course

where you increase your digital skills. In a digital skills course

you will learn more about how to use a computer or the internet.

(Johanna Pålsson)

Great. Now I thought we would talk about what happens

if you have an education obligation. How do I know which

courses I should attend?

(Jessica Leander)

When you contact your municipality, you can work together

with a caseworker to make a plan for which courses

you should attend. It's different for different persons.

It also depends on which municipality you live in.

Different municipalities have different courses.

(Johanna Pålsson)

OK, and what is vocational training?

(Jessica Leander)

Vocational training is an adult education programme

where you learn a profession.

After the training you can work in that profession.

(Johanna Pålsson)

OK, that sounds good. And what are the different types

of vocational training?

(Jessica Leander)

There are many different ones. It might be a training

programme to become an assistant nurse or

construction worker or chef, for example.

(Johanna Pålsson)

Right, and at Komvux, like you mentioned,

you can also take other courses than vocational training.

You mentioned mathematics and digital skills before,

but what other kinds of courses might there be at Komvux?

(Jessica Leander)

Well, there might be English, Swedish or social studies courses.

There are also courses that deal with working life

and the labour market in Sweden. There are a few examples,

for example, it may be that you take different courses

such as mathematics and English and then later attend

a vocational training programme.

(Johanna Pålsson)

Yes, because you often take other courses before you start

your vocational training.

(Jessica Leander)

Yes, exactly.

(Johanna Pålsson)

But is it not the case that many people want to start

their vocational training straightaway so that they can

get a job quickly? So why is that you often take

other courses at Komvux before you can start

your vocational training?

(Jessica Leander)

Yes, that's true. A lot of people think that way.

The courses at Komvux will help you to increase your

knowledge and prepare you for the vocational

training programme that you will attend later.

Sometimes it's not possible to start your vocational

training right away.

(Johanna Pålsson)

And many people probably also think that they do not

really need an education or vocational training at all.

They think they want to get a job as soon as possible,

and it's good to want to get a job quickly,

but what is your view on this?

(Jessica Leander)

Yes, of course it is good that you want to get a job quickly,

and it's true that it takes a while to educate yourself,

but in Sweden most jobs require you to have an education

or vocational training.

For example, you need an education in order to be able

to work as an assistant nurse, a childminder or a carpenter.

If you do not have an education, you can only apply for

a few percent of all available jobs.

All the other jobs require education or vocational training,

either a secondary education or vocational training.

If you don't have an education, there's a good chance

you will be remain unemployed for a long time.

Of course, there's still a chance that you can get a job,

even if you do not have an education or vocational training,

but we know that many people who get a job without having

an education often become unemployed again soon.

(Johanna Pålsson)

It sounds like an education or vocational training

is still the fastest way to get a job in Sweden,

even though it takes a while to educate yourself.

But how long do you need to study in order to get a job?

(Jessica Leander)

The amount of time it takes can vary a great deal,

so it's impossible to answer that question.

But when you contact your municipality, you will find out

which courses they have and which one you can attend,

and then you'll know a little bit more about how long

it may take.

(Johanna Pålsson)

OK, so then it's the municipality you should contact

if you want to know what courses you can take. All right.

But then when you start studying, how does it work

with the money? Do you get money when you study in order

to meet your education obligation?

(Jessica Leander)

Yes, you get money because you're participating

in the establishment programme, so you continue to apply

as usual for the establishment compensation

from the Swedish social insurance agency, Försäkringskassan.

(Johanna Pålsson)

Well, that sounds straightforward. Now we're about

to finish up here, but just one last question for you, Jessica.

Where can you turn if you have questions about the education


(Jessica Leander)

You can always call the Public Employment Service at

your phone number, 0771416416. If you're participating

in the establishment programme, you can call this number

as well, 0771860100. On the website of the Public

Employment Service you can see our phone numbers

and how you get in touch with us.

(Johanna Pålsson)

All right, super. Thank you for that information. Well, that was

the last question I had, and now we know a lot about

the education obligation. Thank you so much, Jessica,

for being here today and telling us all about this.

(Jessica Leander)

Thank you for inviting me.

(Johanna Pålsson)

You've been listening to the Swedish Public Employment

Service's New In Sweden podcast, with Jessica Leander

and me, Johanna Pålsson. Sounding engineer was

Per-Göran Nordström.