Minister to get tough on vocational training without job prospects

Students at vocational training colleges (mbo) should be given better information about their job prospects and courses which do not lead to work should be closed down, education minister Jet Bussemaker said in a briefing to parliament on Monday.

Over half of the Netherlands school leavers go to a vocational training college but more effort needs to be made to ensure an mbo diploma leads to a job, the minister said.

‘On the one hand, we have students taking courses in areas where unemployment is high, such as animal care, where 20% are without a job,’ the minister is quoted as saying by RTL news. ‘On the other hand we have sectors where they are crying out for people, like technology.’


Retail is another area where thousands of mbo college graduates find it difficult to get a job.

The minister wants the country’s 69 mbo colleges to improve information about job opportunities to students. She will also have the power to close down courses which don’t result in jobs.

The country’s mbo colleges offer 8,100 different course, and 40% of these have fewer than 18 students, the minister said.


Last year, Bussemaker’s predecessor Marja van Bijsterveld announced plans to reduce the plethora of courses focusing on the creative sector, such as ‘artist’, to make sure graduates have a real chance of finding a job.

The soaring jobless total among youngsters has led the government to appoint a special youth employment tzar to focus on helping the under-25s into work.

Last month, the government said it was to invest €50m in schemes to bring down youth unemployment in 2013 and 2014, after new figures showed the jobless rate among youngsters is now above 15%.

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