Skip to main content
Bookmark and Share

Report: The Vocational Education and Training System in the Netherlands

4 September 2013 

The UKCES Briefing Paper takes a look at vocational education and training (VET) in the Netherlands. The Dutch VET system is of interest for a number of reasons.

  • Firstly, it enjoys considerable participation by young people, with the majority of all secondary students, from the age of 16, choosing to take a well-established, flexible and clearly structured VET route to complete their education. 
  • Secondly, there are very high completion rates and good prospects for employment. One reason for this is that training in the workplace is mandatory. All students must spend time learning on the job. 
  • Thirdly, in this system VET is driven by employer demand, via sectorally based institutions known as knowledge centres. This ensures that training and qualifications contain both work and theoretical components so that employers receive workers into the labour market with the requisite skills and experience they need. 
  • Finally, the system is underpinned and operates on the basis of consensus with strong working relationships engendered between employers, employees, training providers and government. 

These points and more are examined by identifying the key institutional actors involved, then describing the mechanics of the system - the different training levels applicable to school and work based VET pathways and then illustrating how VET is designed, delivered and quality assured. How VET is publicly funded is also explored. Here, the economic recession has had a severe impact on the Dutch economy and its consequences will require a certain degree of re-design to accommodate new budget realities. The financial incentives, available to employers and individuals to engage in workforce training and development, are also identified. Again, some of these incentives are subject to modification or even closure due to austerity measures and this paper identifies what is likely to change.

The Briefing Paper can be found on the UKCES website.

blog comments powered by Disqus