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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Guidance and counselling in a lifelong learning approach


12.Educational support and guidance

12.8Guidance and counselling in a lifelong learning approach

Last update: 27 November 2023

Academic guidance

There are no formal special institutions for guidance. All educational and vocational guidance is given within the adult education institution (municipal adult education, kommunal vuxenutbildning; folk high school education, folkhögskola; other). It is the responsibility of the head or director to ensure that all students receive educational and vocational guidance in preparation for choosing the continuation of their educational route. Career education and guidance are provided in the class room and in various forms of guidance counselling, in conjunction with the general information.

Most adult education institutions have specially trained career and guidance counsellors (studie- och yrkesvägledare). Although career education and guidance is the responsibility of all educational personnel, the career and guidance counsellors have specialist knowledge that plays a central role in career education and guidance. In order to be employed as a career counsellor in the public school system the applicant must have an education that is intended for such work. Career and guidance counsellor education is offered at Higher Education Institutions and lasts for three years.

Guidance in non-formal adult education

There are 150 folk high schools in Sweden and each of them is a free and independent school that can decide how to organise guidance for students. The schools have given The Information Service of the Swedish Folk High Schools (Folkhögskolornas informationstjänst, FIN) the task to handle central counselling questions and to inform the public about the folk high schools and their courses. The counsellors at the folk high schools have their own network with an annual conference.

The Education Act (Skollag 2010:800)

Ordinance for adult education (Förordning om vuxenutbildning 2011:1108)

Psychological counselling

According to the Education Act students in adult education should have the same rights to student health as students that take part in other school forms regulated by the education act. The responsibility to see to this lies with the principal organizer of the adult education. For medical, psychological and psychosocial needs students should have access to a doctor, nurse, psychologist and counselor (kurator).

Career guidance

Sweden has a long history of offering public guidance services.  Already in the 1940´s the employment offices started to offer career guidance for their clients. The underlying principle has always been that guidance is an individual right that should be free of charge and available to as many groups as possible. Today educational and vocational guidance is provided throughout the entire educational system, as well as within the Public Employment Service (PES, Arbetsförmedlingen).
The actual services of information and guidance are usually provided within the schools or other educational institutions, but there are also examples of municipalities that offer guidance for schools through an external, central guidance centre. Guidance services are also offered within the local PES- offices around Sweden and in local municipal guidance and information centres for adults as well as within universities and university colleges. 
The private sector is quite limited in Sweden, but there are private employment offices and companies that specialise in career coaching and helping companies with reorganising or downsizing.
Guidance and information services are also offered through publicly funded web services. One of these services is the national education portal (Arbetsförmedlingen) provides about 450 descriptions of different professions including interviews, films etc on their web site. They also provide forecasts on 200 professions.
In Sweden, guidance issues are part of broader education and employment initiatives and not treated as a political issue of its own. The two ministries involved are the Ministry for Education (Utbildningsdepartementet) and Research and the Ministry of Employment (Arbetsmarknadsdepartementet).