Party leader speech in Almedalen

Liberals propose apprenticeships for students

Sweden should adopt a nationwide system of apprenticeships for high school students, said Jan Björklund, head of the Liberal Party and Minister of Education, during his speech in Almedalen Friday evening.

But Björklund started his speech, on the Liberals' allotted day during the political week, by attacking the opposition.

He criticised both the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats and the opposition Social Democrats for being against immigrant labour. He then set upon the Green Party for wanting to shorten the work week, and finished with criticising the Left Party for their anti-EU stance.

But what Björklund focused on in his speech was his party's proposal for an apprenticeship system as a way of pushing down youth unemployment.

High school students who opt for an apprenticeship would spend half of their week at a workplace, and they would be paid a salary partly subsidized by the Swedish state.

Björklund announced the new policy, which he described as "a new system for vocational education" at a press conference in Visby, and continued to talk about it in his evening speech.

The Minister of Education said that it will be substantially easier for youths who have been in an apprentice program to enter the workforce.

"Those countries who have the lowest rates of youth unemployment are those countries that have an apprenticeship system: Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Denmark," said the Liberal Party Leader.

Youth unemployment in Sweden is currently about 25 percent.