Parents, teachers and industry must play a far more active role in encouraging pupils at vocational schools to be realistic about the labour market and take more care in their choice of subjects, according to the government’s taskforce on youth unemployment.
Some 44% of teenagers at trade schools say they have made the wrong choice, while 60% say they have no clue what they want to do when they leave school. Six out of 10 Dutch teenagers go to a trade school (VMBO).
‘Making the wrong choice leads to dropping out or having a diploma which the jobs market is not interested in,’ task force chairman Hans de Boer told ANP. The Dutch disease of ‘do what you like’ means that many teenagers chose a job without perspective, he said.
‘That is not in the interests of industry which, for example, has a shortage of technicians,’ De Boer said.
On the other hand, trade schools should also be far more creative in how they approach teenagers, he said. ‘Courses with names like Fashion and Design are far more attractive than dull names like Electrical Engineering,’ De Boer pointed out.
The task force was set up by the last cabinet and is due to be disbanded in June. But minister for youth André Rouvoet, who is also a member, said its work will continue through his department.
Last week, the national statistics office reported that one in three children attending the lowest level of vocational training dropped out of school without a diploma.
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