A Nordic transition regime? Policies for school-to-work transitions in Sweden, Denmark and Finland

Christian Helms Jørgensen, Tero Järvinen , Lisbeth Lundahl

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


All over Europe, a range of policy measures to support young people’s school-to-work transitions have been initiated. However, these transition policies have rarely been studied systematically, particularly not from a comparative perspective. The aim of this article is to compare Swedish, Danish and Finnish policies for supporting young people’s edu¬ca¬¬tional and school-to-work transitions, with a particular focus on NEETs and dropouts. The comparison is exploratory and aims to illuminate the strengths and weaknesses of each system in reducing dropout rates and promoting smooth transitions. We draw on Walther (2006)’s classification of transition regimes that emphasises collective social responsibility, individual motivation and personal development as characteristics of the Nordic universalistic regime of youth transitions. We conclude that transition policies in many cases diverge from the qualities ascribed to the Nordic transition regime by adopting coercive measures, reducing social support and making young people individually responsible for their successful transitions. While labour markets in these countries are increasingly inaccessible for certain groups of youth such as early school leavers and migrant youth, the political discourse is marked more by ideas of employability and vulnerability than of personal development and citizenship.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
JournalEuropean Educational Research Journal
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)278– 297
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2019


  • Nordic countries
  • School-to-work transitions
  • comparative research
  • transition regimes

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