Statskontoret (the Swedish Agency for Public Management) has been commissioned by the government to evaluate financial support for vocational introduction employment (VIE). The purpose of the financial support is to help young people enter the labour market and reduce youth unemployment. For an employer to receive support, it is required that a certain part of the employee's working hours are in the form of training and supervision.
In this interim report, Statskontoret evaluates the content and the quality of the training and supervision that employees are given. The work has also included an examination of whether the support has resulted in better conditions for employers offering workplace learning within the framework of VIE.
Relatively few jobs created
From when the support was introduced in January 2014 until February 2016, a total of 2,084 young people started VIE. The inflow was rather low on average, around 80 per month, and there is still a long way to go towards achieving the government's original ambition of 30,000 employed per year in a fully rolled-out system. In February 2016 there was a total of 873 vocational introduction employees with an ongoing financial support. Three out of four employed are men. Employment has largely taken place through three agreements signed with industry, the electricity sector and care and nursing.
Training and supervision generally works well
Statskontoret's evaluation shows that the employees are generally satisfied with their training and supervision. The supervisors are often experienced in the profession and the employees perceive them as competent. Among employees there is a widespread perception that vocational introduction provides sufficient professional knowledge for continued employment. Statskontoret's overall assessment is that training and supervision in VIE generally works well.
The financial support has been important for employers to make a decision on employing staff. Statskontoret also judges that the special supervisor support has a positive effect on employers' potential to provide workplace learning.
Training could be more structured and quality assured
The majority of employees feel that their training is according to plan. However, Statskontoret's evaluation shows that training plans are rarely individual and that it is not clear when different modules or parts of the training must be completed. Statskontoret considers that training plans could be more informative and clearer.
There is a large amount of variation in the follow-up of what employees have learned. Follow-up generally takes place during work and employers rarely set aside any special time for this. Shortcomings are common in documenting the learning process. Statskontoret considers that more structured follow-up and more documentation is important to ensure that the objectives of the training plan are achieved. More structured follow-up could be obtained if the social partners continue to make recommendations and guidelines on its form and content.
The parties' work with support structures should continue
Statskontoret concludes that the social partners have jointly developed support structures for vocational introduction in all the sectors that we have studied. The support structures include templates for training plans, guidelines for follow-up, training materials and supervisor training programmes. Statskontoret considers that it is important for the parties to continue developing support structures, since they represent an important contribution to achieving structured and quality-assured training and supervision at employers that offer VIE.
Public Employment Service routines for follow-up need improvement
After the employment has ended, the employer must submit a final report to the Public Employment Service with details of the content and scope of the training and supervision that the employee was given. According to information received by Statskontoret, the Public Employment Service lacks formal procedures for processing the final reports. Statskontoret considers that the Public Employment Service should review such processing in order to detect shortcomings and correct any wrong payments.
Financial support probably has significant effect on decisions to employ
A prerequisite for improved workplace learning is that it results in more employment. Statskontoret can state that the support, which consists of a salary subsidy and supervisor support, has had a positive effect on employers' willingness to employ staff. Every third employer says that the support was absolutely decisive in this context. At the same time, Statskontoret notes that most employers who take on staff have wide experience of employing and training young people at the workplace. There is therefore reason to believe that many of the jobs would have been created even without the support.
Supervisor support is positive for learning
Statskontoret judges that the special supervisor support has a positive effect on the willingness of employers to offer workplace learning. Supervisor support makes it clear that resources must be earmarked for supervision. This form of support is also appreciated by employers, even though many say it often does not cover the costs of supervision and training.
Increased use of support structures would improve VIE
Statskontoret considers that the increased use of support structures offered by the parties and the government-funded VE delegation would raise the quality of training and supervision and improve the conditions for learning at the workplace.
Most employers feel that they do not need help and support from joint party organisations and the like. Statskontoret considers that this is partly because they are not aware of what is being offered, which is a result of the parties not spreading information efficiently enough to employers. According to Statskontoret, a greater awareness of needs would lead to an increased use of the support available.
The government should improve the conditions for the VIE delegation
Young people employed through vocational introduction employment are automatically registered with the Public Employment Service. This means that the secrecy provisions applicable to the young people concerned also apply to the employers who hire them. External actors, such as the VIE delegation, do not have access to information on which employers have hired staff using financial support. Secrecy is thus a barrier to the VIE delegation's work of promotion schemes, which are aimed at providing employers with support and information on training and supervision.
According to the VIE delegation, the issue can be solved by using a consent form to revoke secrecy on the part of employers that hire staff through a VIE agreement. Consent could be obtained in conjunction with the application procedure. Statskontoret considers that this is a way forward.
Statskontoret makes the following recommendation to the government:
- The government should look into the possibility of allowing the VIE delegation to receive information about employers given financial support for VIE by the Public Employment Service.