Sweden has a reputation as a country with a relatively high level of gender equality. Nevertheless, both the labour market and vocational training programmes in upper secondary school are highly segregated along gender lines. The present ethnographic study concerns the minority position and professional socialisation of male students taking part in a health and social care programme in upper secondary school in Sweden. In addition to observations, students, health and social care teachers and internship supervisors were interviewed. The study revealed that it was taken for granted that men were considered particularly valuable. The male students universally and frankly described how they expected to receive preferential treatment in future employment situations. They showed no sign of finding this as being unjust to their female colleagues. Furthermore, the emphasis on male students’ gender entails the risk that they will be treated more as men than as the nursing assistants they are training to be, which may hamper their professional socialisation.

Keywords: vocational training, gender, gender equality, situated learning, health and social care, professional socialisation