The education system
Guidance in the education system is coordinated by OCW (Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science). Most important stakeholders for implementation are the schools, given that they have a threefold task: qualification, socialisation and personal development. Through education students prepare for qualification/transition to higher levels of education, participation in society (citizenship), and exercising a profession. By law (also see P2, access to guidance), general secondary and VET-schools are obliged to invest in the development of career guidance competences of pupils and students. Career development is part of the examination and certification. The schools in each education sector are organized in an association. For VET the MBO Raad (VET council) represents all public financed VET-schools and the NRTO (Dutch council for training and education) the private VET-schools. In the primary sector the PO Raad and general sector the VO Raad represent their schools. Other important stakeholders are:
SBB (Cooperation Organisation for Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market)
As required by WEB (Dutch Act on Adult and Vocational Education, 1995), SBB works together with VET schools and the labour market on the following legal tasks:
- accredit and supervise work placement companies;
- maintain the vocational education and training qualification structure;
- provide information on the labour market, practice placements and apprenticeships, and the efficiency of training programmes.
SBB also advises the minister of OCW (Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science) and the minister of EZK (Economic Affairs and Climate Policy) on linking vocational education with the job market.
Inspectorate of Education
The Dutch Inspectorate of Education is responsible for inspecting and reviewing schools and education institutions. The Inspectorate stimulates schools and other education institutions to maintain and improve the quality of education offered, while also assessing the quality of career education and guidance in general primary and secondary education and in vocational education.
Expertise Centre CGE (in Dutch: Expertisepunt LOB)
The Expertise Centre Career Guidance and Education supports schools, from secondary education to VET and the first year of higher vocational education, in improving career orientation. The centre informs, organises and facilitates. It makes information and tools about guidance available on its website and organises knowledge-sharing meetings both nationally and regionally. Schools can also contact the centre with questions about the implementation of guidance, quality assurance, and professionalisation.
The approach is partly national, as in the collection and dissemination of as many good practices as possible, proven products and methods, and the organisation of knowledge-sharing meetings; it is also partly regional, with advisors in the region for the guidance of schools and supporting school partnerships. The expertise centre is project-based and is financed by OCW (Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science) (see section Quality assurance).
Euroguidance supports OCW (Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science) and other stakeholders in promoting guidance and shaping policy. As part of the Dutch policy plans, Euroguidance developed an overview of education and training opportunities for (future) career guidance professionals. It also produced the notable Dutch framework for career professionals, resulting from extensive consultation where representatives of all relevant stakeholders were involved. The framework is now one of the elements in the ministry’s plans and ambitions, with regard to strengthening career education and guidance (CEG) in education.
Student and youth organisations
There are four major youth and student associations in the Netherlands; namely, Landelijk Aktie Komitee Scholieren (National Pupils Action Committee, LAKS), Jongeren Organisatie Beroepsonderwijs (Youth Organisation for Vocational Education, JOB), the Landelijke Studentenvakbond (National Student Trade Union, LSVb), and Interstedelijk Studentenoverleg (Interurban Student Consultation, ISO). All are organisations of and for students. They contribute to policy documents and provide activities related to career guidance.
The public employment sector
Guidance in the public sector is coordinated by SZW (The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment). SZW finances improvement programmes for career education and guidance within schools for preventing early school leaving, creating better positions for migrants, lifelong learning (e.g. individual learning and development budget) and sustainable employability (e.g. mobility and reintegration).
UWV (Employee Insurance Agency)
The Ministry commissions the UWV (Employee Insurance Agency) – an autonomous administrative authority – to implement employee insurances (referring to both unemployment and disability benefits). Dutch employee insurances are provided through laws such as:
- the WW (Unemployment Insurance Act);
- the WIA (Work and Income according to Labour Capacity Act), which contains the IVA (Full Invalidity Benefit Regulations) and the WGA (Return to Work (Partially Disabled) Regulations);
- the Wajong (Disablement Assistance Act for Handicapped Young Persons);
- the WAO (Invalidity Insurance Act);
- the WAZ (Self-employed Persons Disablement Benefits Act);
- the Wazo (Work and Care Act)
- the Sickness Benefits Act.
The UWV organisation is structured around five divisions and two main live departments (further information can be found here). One division of the UWV is UWV WERKbedrijf, the public employment service of the Employee Insurance Agency, which is engaged in job placement and reintegration. The UWV also provides labour market and data services for the Ministry and publishes national and regional labour market forecasts each year on their website.
The regional service centres on education and work (Leerwerkloketten, see below) are part of the UWV. Service centres are established in all labour market regions, as partnerships between organisations in the region who are involved in learning and working: public employment service, municipalities, education and training institutes, employers, knowledge centres and labour market institutions. Together, they develop activities, services, and products with the goal of improving the transfer from education to labour market. Career guidance is one of the instruments used.
Dutch policy increasingly focuses on the self-reliance and responsibility of all job seekers within the Netherlands. The services resulting from this policy will be increasingly based on online self-service. UWV online services are available to all job seekers through www.werk.nl (see section ICT in lifelong guidance).
Regional service centres on education and work (Leerwerkloketten)
The Learning and Working programme has existed since the end of 2009 and aims to strengthen the connection between education, training, the labour market and labour market opportunities. To this end, regional service centres on education and work (Leerwerkloketten) have been set up in all labour market regions, which are financed both by SZW (the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment) and by regional partners. Regional partners are municipalities, UWV (Employee Insurance Agency) education and training institutes, and employers. The national Learning and Working programme serves as the taskforce for coordination. The centres provide information about and access to life-long learning for employers, employees and the unemployed, which includes those who have finished or are about to finish school. The centres are open to any individual looking to receive free advice on learning and working opportunities. The policies and action plans of these centres vary per region, depending on the regional labour market and partners.
The activities of the regional service centres pay attention to the screening of clients, guidance activities, validation services, support activities and education and training activities. Two service models are operational: a model for youth (pupils, students), employees and job seekers, and a model for employers. In both service models, the outcomes of the services offered by the desks play a major role in the linkage between validation and guidance; this is because when validation and guidance-services are interlinked, they create more power, transparency and opportunities in the learning and working fields than as stand-alone services. The main gains from the linkage between validation and guidance for the beneficiary/client, organisations involved are that it opens up more opportunities for acquiring a qualification, applying for a job, upgrading a function level or anti-cyclical strategies for personnel policy.
Since 2015, the Participatiewet (Participation Act) is in place. This act has replaced acts such as the act on work and assistance Act and a part of the Wajong (see above). This has consequences for those entitled to social assistance, people with a Wajong-benefit and people in the social employment system. Anyone who is able to work but cannot make it on the labour market without support, falls under the Participation Act. The law must ensure that more people find work, including people with a disability. Municipalities (which is responsible for all people who can work but need support. Municipalities (which are united in the VNG) are expected to offer support to this growing target group so that they can get to work. Divosa is the organisation for municipality directors of social services; they support municipalities by developing and exchanging knowledge with the aim of enabling people to participate actively in society.
Employers and trade unions
There are several important stakeholders among employers and trade unions, beginning with SBB (Cooperation Organisation for Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market) described above. Other stakeholders directly involved with employers and trade unions are described below.
VNO-NCW (Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers)
VNO-NCW is the largest employers' organisation in the Netherlands. VNO-NCW represents the interests of Dutch business and industry and provides a range of services to its members.
MKB Nederland (SME Netherlands)
The Royal Association MKB-Nederland is the largest entrepreneurs’ organisation in the Netherlands and represents the interests of Dutch SMEs.
There are three major unions in the Netherlands: the Christian-democratic Christelijk Nationaal Vakverbond (CNV), the social-democratically oriented Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging (FNV) and the union for professional and managerial staff Vakcentrale voor professionals (VCP). All are federations of sector-based labour unions. Trade-unions offer career guidance services for their members. FNV, for example, has an extensive careers service and programmes for career guidance. FNV and CNV also have youth divisions which are involved in career guidance and contribute to policy documents.
Private sector organisations (combined private and government financing)
Many foundations in the Netherlands offer career guidance or similar services, mostly for dedicated target groups; and are (co)funded by the government. In addition, many private companies and private counsellors offer career guidance to individuals, schools and reintegration programmes. A few important examples are listed below.
NVS-NVL (Dutch Association of Student and Career Counsellors) is an association for career professionals involved in developing career guidance in schools, IVET and CVET. It also includes all the organisations involved in providing placements and career guidance.
VVsL (Association of School Deans and Career Counsellors) is an association for career professionals in secondary education (mostly senior general and pre-university), but also private counsellors, professional and study choice agencies and coordinators from the universities (of applied sciences).
The National Association of Study Advisers (LVSA) is a professional association for, and represents the interests of, Dutch university study advisors. The LVSA informs its members about developments in CGE (career guidance and education), stimulates the professionalisation of its members by offering courses and professionalisation days, promotes knowledge and information sharing via various platforms, invests in its (international) network, and looks after the interests of its members. The association also stimulates its members to conduct their own research on guidance.
NOLOC (Association for Career professionals) is the Dutch association for career professionals and job coaches in the private market.
ZAT’s (Zorg Advies teams, The Care-Advise Teams) are established by and in schools following the law on ‘adequate education’ (Wet Passend Onderwijs, August 2014). In this law, the duty of care is put forward as a central focus point of schools. The care-advise teams are active in primary, secondary and VET school and include representatives from schools, health services, psychologists, and the police. The aim of the teams is to provide access to career guidance and preventive measures for at-risk students with behavioural difficulties.
Diverse cooperation between the career development services and stakeholders like employers, trade unions, the media, NGOs, and professional organisations exists both at national and regional levels. In 2016, cooperation between the social partners, PES, municipalities, and the education and development funds of the industries was prompted by SZW (the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment) to support adequate services for the unemployed and to prevent unemployment (DWSRA-pilots). In certain areas, there is close cooperation between stakeholders at both national and regional levels, for example within the technology and health sectors.
Christelijk Nationaal Vakverbond (CNV). https://www.cnv.nl/
Employee Insurance Agency Netherlands (UWV). https://www.uwv.nl/overuwv/index.aspx
Euroguidance Netherlands (2017). Framework for career guidance for young people. https://www.euroguidance.nl/_images/user/instrumenten/Euroguidance_Publicatie_RaamwerkVoorLOBJongeren_Engels_def.pdf
Euroguidance Netherlands. https://www.euroguidance.nl/default.aspx
Expertisepunt LOB (Expertise Centre CGE). https://www.expertisepuntlob.nl/
Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging (FNV). https://www.fnv.nl/
Federation of Managerial and Professional Staff Unions (MHP). Archived page. https://web.archive.org/web/20070109190822/http://www.vakcentralemhp.nl/home.asp
Interstedelijk Studentenoverleg (Interurban Student Consultation, ISO). https://www.iso.nl/
Jongeren Organisatie Beroepsonderwijs (Youth Organisation for Vocational Education, JOB). https://www.jobmbo.nl/
Landelijk Aktie Komitee Scholieren (National Pupils Action Committee, LAKS). https://www.laks.nl/
Landelijke Studentenvakbond (National Student Trade Union, LSVb). https://lsvb.nl/
Landelijke Vereniging van Studieadviseurs LVSA (National Association of Study Advisers). https://lvsa.nl/
Laws and regulations. https://wetten.overheid.nl/
Leerwerkloketten (Learning and working desks). https://www.lerenenwerken.nl/leerwerkloketten
MBO Raad (VET council). https://www.mboraad.nl/english
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. https://www.government.nl/ministries/ministry-of-economic-affairs-and-climate-policy
Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (n.d.). Inspectorate of Education. https://english.onderwijsinspectie.nl/
Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. https://www.government.nl/ministries/ministry-of-education-culture-and-science
Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. https://www.government.nl/ministries/ministry-of-social-affairs-and-employment
NOLOC (Association for Career professionals). https://www.noloc.nl/english
NRTO (Dutch council for training and education). https://www.nrto.nl/
NVS-NVL (Dutch Association of Student and Career Counsellors). https://nvs-nvl.nl/
PO Raad (primary education council). https://www.poraad.nl/
Royal Association MKB-Nederland. https://www.mkb.nl/over-mkb-nederland/english
SBB (Cooperation Organisation for Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market). https://www.s-bb.nl/en
UWV Werkbedrijf (UWV Public Employment Services). https://www.uwv.nl/overuwv/wat-is-uwv/organisatie/detail/onderdelen/werkbedrijf
Vakcentrale voor professionals (VCP). https://www.vcp.nl/english/
VNG (Association of Dutch municipalities). https://vng.nl/
VNO-NCW (Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers). https://www.vno-ncw.nl/over-vno-ncw/english
VO Raad (secondary education council). https://www.vo-raad.nl/
VVsL (Association of School Deans and Career Counsellors): https://www.vvsl.nl/home