Young people aged 15-23, lacking learning and professional skills or struggling to live autonomously or maintain their own social network (social skills). 


Education level and sector

Vocational Education and Training (VET) (school-based), basic vocational education (VMBO) and inclusive education (speciaal onderwijs)

Type of policy/initiative



Level of implementation / Scope

Regional/local level and by institutions 

Stage of implementation

Ongoing, programme introduced in 2012.

Aims of policy/initiative

The main objective is that early leavers (and those at risk of early leaving) either start (or continue) and finish their education or enter the labour market.

Features and types of activities implemented

The programme uses a multimodal approach resulting in a wider scope when looking at early school leaving, which can range from ‘basic’ (for those already receiving some form of support) to ‘plus’ (for those receiving no support at all).

It consists of four stages:

  • A comprehensive diagnosis period during which the students’ specific issues are explored and programme goals are set.
  • Internship or education programme with the focus on taking up (again) a normal work/school routine.
  • Developing skills and making use of the skills learned.
  • A follow-up period in which coaching sessions are limited and students function independently.


Funds secured and provided by the leading organisation (foundation).

Success factors

The following success factors are based on the testimonies of participants in the measure interviewed for the Cedefop study:

  1. Intrinsic motivation: the impact of the programme depends on the extent of the students’ motivation to take part and achieve their goals. The programme supports students in explicitly formulating their request for help through an action plan. Without a request for help, Getting Started is not implemented.
  2. Working relationship between student and counsellor: counsellors’ constant availability for their students leads to trust and support.
  3. Voluntary participation: voluntary participation ensures the autonomy and self-determination of students, leading to their empowerment. They are learning to be in charge of their own lives. Counsellors only offer them support and guidance in how they can lead their lives.

Contact details for further information

Contact name
Irma van der Veen, director
Contact telephone
+31(0)6 5571 4753
Contact email
Irmavanderveen [at]