Description

Timespan

The measure been active since 2013.

Stage
Fully operational

Foundations

Policy area

The aim of the measure is to help graduates from tertiary level education to gain working experience, thereby making them more attractive for employers.

Policy goal

The policy instrument aims to solve the issue of graduates from tertiary level education (WO and HBO degrees in the Netherlands) not being able to find work due to lack of work experience. Often employers do not have the financial capacity or desire to take on an employee with no practical work experience. The instrument aims to enable graduates to acquire work experience through subsidized internships at enterprises, thus making them more attractive in the labour market. Without practical working experience, labour market information shows that graduates leaving tertiary education do not have the relevant skills and practical work experience that enterprises are looking for. Therefore, hiring a fresh graduate represents a risk for enterprises, as they must invest time and money to train a graduate to work in their enterprise. The rationale of the instrument is that by subsiding the training of graduates, it is more attractive for enterprises to hire them. Moreover, graduates gain work experience, making them more attractive on the labour market as a whole. Furthermore, having trained at an enterprise, a graduate has higher chances of being hired there. Overall, the main purpose is to help graduates find work more easily.

Mismatch
Part of broader programme, yet with explicit focus

The measure helps make graduates become more employable by giving them the opportunity to gain practical experience in their field. In this way they gather the practical knowledge and skills required to actually practice the profession they studied for, thereby reducing the mismatch between what graduates know and what they are expected to be able to do when working in their field. The instrument, therefore, contributes to lower the skills mismatch by improving the initial employability of graduates.

Administrative level
Regional
Main responsible body

Ministry for Education, Culture and Science

Stakeholders

The Startersbeurs instrument was developed by the University of Tilburg, in collaboration with the youth employee associations, FNV and CNV, and the enterprise Funding B.V. The implementation and monitoring is carried out by municipal governments in the Netherlands, which get the funding from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. These municipalities set the precise conditions and criteria for paying the subsidy to the employer, usually an enterprise. The municipality where the graduate lives is the municipality that implements and provides the scholarship subsidy. While the municipality monitors how many individuals make use of the instrument in different regions, overall evaluations take place every few years. The first evaluation took place in 2014 and the second in 2015. Both were carried out by an institute within the University of Tilburg, ReflecT.

Funding

No information on how much funds are committed to the instrument is available. In a general sense, the municipalities receive financing from the government (from different ministries, for different fields: the two main budgets are the participation budget and the provincial subsidy budget). However, how the municipalities allocate funding to different programmes in their region varies according to the regional needs. The funding for the Startersbeurs comes from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, and is distributed via participating municipalities. In different regions of the Netherlands, some municipalities have also used dedicated ESF (subsidy category A) funding to help fund their overall youth unemployment measures, and in doing so, also allocate ESF funding to the Startersbeurs. Therefore, it is difficult to say how much funding is required for the Startersbeurs.

Intended beneficiaries

The intended beneficiaries are recent graduates from tertiary education programmes. Enterprises benefit indirectly from having relatively cheap workforce, i.e. recent graduates that they can train according to their business needs. The graduates work a 32 hour work week for 6 months, which entails a significant amount of cheap labour for an enterprise.

Processes

Use of labour market intelligence

The LMSI tool used here centres on connecting unemployed graduates from tertiary education with enterprises. The municipality in a region implements the scholarship subsidy ("beurs") for a graduate who registers and applies to use the policy instrument.

Financial schemes

The instrument is based on a financial incentive for employers to hire graduates who have just completed their education. In this way, the instrument subsidises the costs of hiring a recent graduate by making it attractive for enterprises to hire and train them.

Frequency of updates

Different regions of the Netherlands make varying levels of use of the measure and it is therefore difficult to say which municipalities have adjusted their implementation of the instrument. Municipalities apply to the central government (the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science) to make use of the measure. The measure in its scope and basic form (a grant for enterprises to hire graduates) has not been updated or adjusted since its beginning.

Development

The Startersbeurs instrument was developed by the University of Tilburg, in collaboration with the youth employee associations, FNV and CNV, and the enterprise Funding B.V. The measure does not appear to have been adjusted since its beginning.

Barriers

The Startersbeurs is implemented at the municipal level. As such, municipalities conduct their own local or regional evaluations and in some of these evaluations, barriers come forward. Generalizing these barriers to the whole programme is therefore difficult. The evaluation done by the municipality of the Hague in 2017, for example, showed that monitoring the actual quality of the skills and competences taught at the enterprise, and therefore assess the quality of learning, is difficult to measure. This is something that will receive fresh attention in 2018. On a national level, a challenge surrounding the implementation of the instrument is that the grant is implemented at the municipal level. This means that the funding of the instrument comes from the municipal budgets. Different regions and municipalities have different local priorities and as such, in some municipalities there is no money to implement the instrument. This is a clear barrier to implementing the instrument, and means that potential applicants cannot make use of the instrument if it is not in place in the municipality in which they live (a requirement to participate is that an applicant can only apply in the municipality in which they live and are registered).

Success factors

The success of this measure lies in its twofold objective: 1) graduates gain working experience, which provides them with useful and relevant skills, and makes them more employable on the labour market, and 2) the barrier to hiring a new (inexperienced) employee is reduced for enterprises. In this way, the programme tackles a key bottleneck in the labour market and helps improve mobility. Furthermore, a success factor is that in those regions where the instrument is offered by the municipality, the measure is quite accessible for both enterprises and applicants. According to the municipality of Rotterdam, for example, the administrative burden is reportedly low. The digital portal for making applications and payments facilitates the process, and there is a screening effect, where motivated graduates are the ones who seek out the instrument and get placed at enterprises.

Monitoring

The policy instrument is monitored by the number of graduates who get a job at the enterprise where they did their training, and the degree to which graduates found that their education aligned with the work they had to carry out. The characteristics of the participants are also monitored. Municipal governments monitor the number of participants and their career trajectories. The ReflecT institute at the University of Tilburg conducts national level evaluations and has done so for 2013 and 2015. These evaluations also cover the status of graduates who participated in the measure for up to 9 months after completing their traineeship or internship.

Innovativeness
Very innovative

The programme is quite innovative in that it directly addresses a key bottleneck in youth unemployment and labour mobility. The measure reduces the barrier to hiring fresh graduates felt by enterprises, and makes graduates more attractive in the labour market by providing them with work experience. The instrument reduces the financial risk to enterprises and in this way, directly targets a key obstacle to labour mobility and skills acquisition.

Sustainability

Evidence of effectiveness

In 2014, the University of Tilburg carried out an evaluation of the Startersbeurs. At that point around 1,500 graduates and 152 municipalities participated in the instrument. The evaluation showed that after one year of the programme 52.3% of participants found paid work during or at the end of the internship, and 36.7% found work at the enterprise where they did their internship. The participants evaluated the Startersbeurs and its contribution to their improved position on the labour market with a 7.8 score out of 10, and three quarters of participants felt the work experience was relevant and helped them find a job. Furthermore, 37.5% felt the programme contributed to a broader professional network, and 29.2% felt that the programme contributed to improving specific relevant competences. Between 2013 and December of 2015, 3,000 graduates made use of the measure.
The benefits have indeed been as expected, namely to help the employability of graduates, by giving them practical work experience and thereby helping them find jobs. Both these connected goals were reached. No particularly unexpected benefits came forward during the evaluations (from 2013 and 2015). One unexpected benefit of the measure is that it seems to especially help women and graduates from classically female-dominated studies and fields. Around 70% of the total applicants for the grant were female between 2013 and 2015.
The instrument also includes a training or education voucher in some municipalities. This can be used by the participant for extra education and training according to their needs. The participant can decide how best to use this to invest in themselves. However, an unexpected issue which came to light during the second evaluation of the grant (in 2015), showed in municipalities where the voucher was available, that 75% were aware of how much they could receive. The other 25% of participants were either not aware of the budget, or were aware, but did not know how much they were eligible to receive. Participants did not make use of the education voucher for different reasons: they forgot they had such a budget, considered it not high enough for a real investment in themselves, did not have time to use the voucher given their work, it was deemed unnecessary, they did not know on what they could spend the voucher, or the personal contribution to training activities was too high. These issues could be remedied by better information provision amongst municipalities, but it is unclear at present whether actions were taken to improve the awareness and use of the training vouchers in those municipalities offering the voucher.

Engagement of stakeholders

The stakeholders involved in implementing the measure are the municipal governments and enterprises who submit their willingness to be a training company. Municipalities apply to the Startersbeurs website and contact the measure's administrators. Enterprises indicate their willingness to participate via the Startersbeurs website. Graduates apply to be placed at such an enterprise. For the development of the measure, the University of Tilburg, CNV Jongeren and Funding B.V. were involved. An institute of Tilbuerg University, ReflecT is involved in carrying out national level evaluations of the outcomes of the measure in different municipalities. The role of the ministries are not clearly defined, beyond allocating funding to different national budgets, which are in turn used by municipal governments to fund programmes and measures that they have in place at the regional level.

Transferability
Easily transferable

The measure appears relatively transferable, though a key requirement is to have enterprises willing and able to hire and train graduates, and to have sufficient public resources to offer the enterprises the subsidy to take on the fresh graduates and in doing so, carry the financial risk on behalf of the enterprises. Depending on the political priorities and resources available for the national government and the willingness amongst enterprises, the measure could be transferred to another country.

Sustainability

The measure was implemented in 2013 and has been relatively successful and effective. The measure is to be reintroduced in different municipalities which suggests it is an effective instrument, though this leaves questions regarding its sustainability (given that it was stopped in the first place in some areas of the Netherlands before being started up again).

Description

Timespan

2009-2011, then the programme was adjusted and reintroduced in 2013.

Stage
Fully operational

Foundations

Policy area

The programme helps students in secondary vocational education (MBO levels 1 and 2), to make better decisions regarding a follow up educational programme, or to find work in areas that are more in demand in the labour market, thereby improving their employability prospects.

Policy goal

The policy goal is to bring together demand of employers and the supply of skills of potential employees. The measure was introduced in 2009 and continued as an important programme in 2013. The aim was to help soften the impacts of the European crisis on youth unemployment. The rationale behind this particular programme is that in times of economic difficulty, it can be more advantageous for an individual to keep studying and learning. As such, the School Ex Programme helps guide the graduates (or leavers) of secondary VET to the next level of study which suits the graduate, for which there is also demand in the labour market. In cases where a graduate wants to work, a suitable job is found via the PES.

Mismatch
Part of broader programme, yet with explicit focus

The programme targets skills mismatch amongst VET students, with the overall aim of reducing youth unemployment. The programme has a practical skills mismatch component, but the ultimate aim is to reduce unemployment as opposed to reducing skills mismatches.

Administrative level
Regional
Main responsible body

Ministry for Education, Culture and Science

Stakeholders

Besides the Ministry for Education, Culture and Science, the Dutch Public Employment Service (UWV) also plays a role in implementing the measure. Municipalities and VET institutions are the main implementing parties for the School Ex Programme. Municipalities hold talks and guide graduates from secondary vocational education to a suitable next education level, or if this is not possible, to a suitable job. VET institutions are involved in getting students to a next level of education, and the UWV is involved when VET graduates wish to start working instead.

Funding

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is the source of funding for this instrument. For the school years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, the Dutch government allocated a further €25 million for the implementation of the School Ex Programme. The School Ex programme is funded by different channels: one third comes from the municipalities, one third from the college itself (or the hosting organisation), and one third comes from the government (via the national level sectoral fund). In the case of the Graafschap College, the total financing of the programme amounts to around €150,000 (which is provided here as an example of how the national School Ex programme is implemented in practice at the regional level).

Intended beneficiaries

Intended beneficiaries are graduates from secondary vocational education of up to 27 years of age.

Processes

Use of labour market intelligence

The measure helps graduates to find work that fits their schooling background, and for which there is demand in the labour market. The measure does so by guiding students to a further education level that prepares them for a job that is in demand, or by guiding graduates to a suitable job directly. The programme specifically focuses on the jobs and related skills that are in demand in the labour market.

Financial schemes

There do not appear to be direct financial incentives involved. The Dutch government makes funds available and these are allocated to municipal governments. These in turn spend resources on implementing the guidance and talks involved under the School Ex Programme. The municipalities, therefore, receive funding to conduct the activities under the School Ex Programme. Graduates and VET institutions do not receive or pay for the service.

Frequency of updates

Every year a national level survey is held by VET institutions amongst exam candidates for MBO levels 1 and 2. Based on the outcomes of the survey, students are helped via the School Ex Programme. In the example of the Graafschap College, the estimation is that out of 2,500 students about to graduate, some 150 students end up making use of the instrument. This is examined annually by the administrators, but does not change much.

Development

The programme started in 2009 and in 2013, the Dutch national government recommitted to the programme, agreeing to allocate funds to this programme during the next policy cycle. The programme changed slightly from its previous form, with the 2013 form including “Ombuigingsgesprekken”, talks to get students with sub-optimal career prospects, to consider follow up education in more in-demand education programmes in job areas more in demand in the labour market. This addition is still in place now as the School Ex Programma 2.0.
The approach of the instrument involves its being implemented at municipal levels in the Netherlands. The main approach of guiding graduates and finding a suitable education or job that is in demand in the labour market is the same across municipalities. This is done by having all students in a secondary education programme fill out a survey about their future plans. Those that have doubts are provided with career and education advice from VET institutions and municipalities. The exact approach to conducting the guidance and talks with graduates may vary somewhat per municipality. As such, changes are difficult to identify given that the implementation may vary, as it is due to the way the approach is implemented.

Barriers

Regarding implementation barriers, financing is always a challenge. Keeping the financing intact is a new challenge and a new discussion every time. The Graafschap college for instance takes its as its responsibility, but municipal governments raise the issue every time of whether funding such a programme falls under their mandate and whether it is appropriate for them to fund such an instrument. However, until now the programme financing has been renewed, due to the success of the programme (150 students are helped to the labour market each year and for 75%, this is in a sustainable, long term job). Another barrier, which was overcome, was that the survey that is taken amongst pending graduates was first carried out by a call centre. Calling 2,500 students each year was expensive, and this was outsourced to a group of tertiary education students instead. This is cheaper and works well as the survey takers are closer in age to the pending graduates, which allows for a more effective and supportive survey responses.

Success factors

Success factors include the fact that the programme connects closely with the educational trajectory. During the summer a team of external students (in tertiary education) conduct a telephone survey amongst students in vocational education who are graduating that year. The pending graduates are asked questions concerning their future plans. If a pending graduate indicates they do not have many plans yet, they are registered and the survey asks if the graduate needs support. The survey taker also immediately makes an appointment with the student in question for a follow-up call or appointment with a coach.
Another success factor is that the School Ex programme office is in the school at the Graafschap College and is therefore very accessible. Another success factor is that the programme takes a case-by-case approach and delivers tailored, individual guidance to each student. Through the programme, individuals can be helped with making CVs, letters, and searching on the labour market.

Monitoring

Municipalities monitor the number of applicants they have for the programme, the number of graduates that finished their secondary VET, and the number of participants of the programme that left their secondary VET without graduating. Furthermore, the number of applicants, the number that complete their follow up education, and the number of participants that are placed in jobs are monitored. Monitoring of the School Ex programme in Graafschp for instance, is based on tracking the number of graduates who find sustainable jobs in the labour market. A sustainable job in this case is one which lasts for 6 months of more. This is reported to the municipality and to the School Ex programme administrators.
The School Ex programme also maintains contact with a graduate for one year and provides support where necessary. If a graduate requires help for more than a year, they get referred to the services provided by the municipality. The programme also monitors the satisfaction of students with the programme.
At a national level, evaluations have been commissioned by the national government. These larger, national level evaluations also include a qualitative analysis of what MBO graduates think about the programme.

Innovativeness
Very innovative

The programme can be considered quite innovative in that it targets younger people specifically to help them make sound career choices in line with the needs on the labour market. This is achieved by having all students in a secondary education programme fill out a survey about their future plans. Those students who have doubts receive guidance from the municipality and VET institutions. By ensuring better job prospects for students from secondary vocational education, this policy instrument increases skills matching.

Sustainability

Evidence of effectiveness

In the first period that the School Ex Programme ran, the target for 2009 to 2010, was to help 10,000 graduates between the ages of 18 and 27 to get into another level of education or into work. In 2010, 12,000 graduates or school leavers had been helped. In 2009, 77,000 students in secondary vocation education (MBO in the Netherlands) filled in the national questionnaire, accounting for two thirds of the exam candidates for that level of MBO in the Netherlands. Of this number, 40% went on to receive a personal conversation about their future plans.
The benefits have indeed been as expected. A large numbers of students in secondary vocational education have participated in the programme, and due to its success, it was renewed for the school years 2013-2014, and 2014-2015. In the 2014 evaluation of the measure, 66% of students considered the talk and guidance they received via the programme to be “very useful”. An unexpected benefit in 2013 was that students with non-European backgrounds and young women were both groups of focus for the programme. This is because technical professions are notably in demand, and to counter stereotypical attitudes and hiring actions, young women and youths with a non-European background were given more focus within the sectoral approach of the School Ex Programme. As a local example, no real unexpected costs have arisen from the programme in the case of the Graafschap College. The programme in the Graafschap College estimated that around 150 students make use of the programme every year, and calculated the budget accordingly. This estimation was quite good as the number of students remained relatively stable and as a consequence, the budget was sufficient. Furthermore, outsourcing the survey from a call centre to tertiary education students helped reduce costs of contacting 2,500 pending graduates.

Engagement of stakeholders

Vocational education providers collaborate closely to ensure that within a given region students can be guided into programmes that fit their educational background, their preferences and job areas in the labour market that are in high demand. This also requires collaboration with the Dutch PES, the UWV, to know what sort of skills and jobs are and will be in demand in the immediate future. The stakeholders involved are the municipality, the employment services in the region (“Werkbedrijf” in Graafschap), and the vocational education and training institutes (known as ROC’s in the Netherlands). The ROCs and the School Ex programme in Graafschap monitor 18 to 23 year olds in the area and establish which of them are best suited to guide and support which of those young people. Once a month the Graafschap and VET institutes come together to compare their monitoring results and establish how to proceed. The regional stakeholders also come together to produce sectoral plans and make a link with the regional labour market. This sectoral plan is used as input when planning and carrying out the support and guidance activities for young people in the area.

Transferability
Easily transferable

This measure seems to be transferable in the sense that it requires the collaboration between VET institutions, a proactive PES and municipal governments to design and implement the program. Furthermore, financial and human resources are required to conduct talks and guide the graduates, and to generate expertise of which jobs and skills are in demand. This would seem to require political will at the national level, and a more decentralized governing approach in a country, in order to roll out the programme at the regional and municipal levels, as has been done in the Netherlands. Additionally, good working relationships between municipalities and VET institutions appears to be an important feature. The VET institutions were also involved in initially developing the measure.

Sustainability

The measure does indeed seem sustainable given that the measure was started again in 2013-2014, and in 2014-2015. The measure requires the cooperation of institutions, which in most countries are already in place and work independently, such as municipal governments, VET institutions and PES. The addition of funding by the national government is not exorbitantly high when one considers that the Dutch government allocated a further €250 million to the action plan on craftsman professions as part of the government priorities of reducing skills mismatch. A measure like the School Ex Programme, which is relatively efficient in its resources and effective in its outcomes, also fits within the government's priorities of reducing skills mismatch. From this point of view, it would appear to be quite a sustainable instrument.

Description

Timespan

The measure was implemented in 2013 and it will run until 2019.

Stage
Fully operational

Foundations

Policy area

The measure aims to help enterprises to offer a practical, work based learning environment so that students from all levels of vocational education, as well as tertiary education (HBO in this case), and PhD researchers can gain the practical skills they need as part of their education. In this way, enterprises help students across different education levels to gain the relevant practical experience to complete their educational programme. The secondary initial vocational programmes receive the most policy focus and funding from the instrument, suggesting more focus on this area within the instrument.

Policy goal

The measure aims ultimately to help better prepare students from various vocational educational levels and backgrounds for the labour market. Enterprises and employers in turn gain better educated employees. The subsidy allows enterprises and employers to offer work-based learning places within their organisation to better train students. The rationale is that there are groups of students in vocational education programmes and research students that require practical work experience to complete their educational programmes or to gain practical working experience. The measure seeks to ensure that enough good quality work-based positions are available by encouraging and supporting enterprises and employers to set up such work-based training positions. In this way, students are ensured good positions where they learn the skills they need for their immediate education and their future jobs as well.

Mismatch
Part of broader programme, yet with explicit focus

The subsidy allows enterprises and employers to offer work-based learning places within their organisation to better train students. The aim of the instrument is to 1) help vulnerable groups in society with above average levels of youth unemployment; 2) help better train students in sectors where there is insufficient supply of properly trained personnel; and 3) to help scientific personnel become better trained and thereby, contribute to the Dutch knowledge economy. There is a focus on skills mismatch, as it aims to better educate and train individuals from vocational education programmes and students/employees from scientific institutions.

Administrative level
National
Main responsible body

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science

Stakeholders

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is the responsible public entity and provides a substantial part of the funding for this programme. The implementing organisation is the government agency RVO (“Rijksdienst voor Uitvoerend Nederland”) which is affiliated with the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The measure targets enterprises and employing organisations that submit applications to the RVO. If the application is accepted, they receive support from the RVO to make sure their organisation offers an appropriate work-based training position. The RVO carries out checks of the workplaces through visits. Enterprises and employers are selected randomly from the sample of participating organisations for these control visits.

Funding

The Ministry for Education, Culture and Science funds the programme. Up until 2019, the funding amounts annually to €196.5 million. Secondary vocational education receives the most funding (MBO, €188.9 million), followed by tertiary vocational education (HBO, €3.4 million), researchers (€2.8 million) and primary vocational educations (VMBO €1.4 million). Enterprises also incur costs to make their workspace suitable for a training position, but the costs may vary, as does the level of subsidy they receive.

Intended beneficiaries

The intended beneficiaries are ultimately individuals following vocational education programmes and scientific researchers (such as PhD students). Additionally, people from socially vulnerable groups, with higher levels of youth unemployment, as well as students in education programmes, where there is a deficit in the labour market, enjoy more focus within the instrument. In a more direct sense, enterprises and employers can be considered the first beneficiaries as they receive the subsidy.

Processes

Use of labour market intelligence

The LMSI tools here focus on helping to provide better work based training positions for students from vocational education and researchers. The aim is to help these students to gain better work experience, making them employable. There is the additional focus within the programme on encouraging employment in knowledge intensive sectors (for the researchers), and a focus on getting students to learn and gain working experience in sectors where there is higher demand for skills.

Financial schemes

The instrument subsidises enterprises and other employers to provide a work-based training position within their organisation. Different levels of subsidies apply for different vocational education and work type placements. In 2015 and 2016, the subsidy could be as high as €2,700 for each placement.

Frequency of updates

Applications can be made for a few months before each school year.

Development

The instrument was developed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. In 2013, a change was made where by graduates from the Dutch education level VMBO could also make use of the subsidy, as this group of graduates also experience problems in reaching employment. The budget of the subsidy was lowered as of 2017 to €8.5 million. The reason for this is that graduates from the education levels HBO, WO and graduated PhD students were underused.

Barriers

The measure was first implemented in 2013. Since then, some challenges have become apparent. One of the more often recurring problem is a disconnection between the vocational training programme being followed and the type of work-based training position the students select. Due to the challenge of not always receiving the correct information from applying enterprises, in 2015, the RVO launched the online platform for submitting applications, called “Praktijkleren Online”. The online system was set up in order to check that the applications are complete, and that enterprises and employers fulfil all the criteria and conditions for participation.

Success factors

A success factor of the measure is its accessibility for enterprises and the administrative simplicity in registering and participating. The application can be done online, and full participation requires another 2 documents demonstrating that the enterprise is a certified "leerbedrijf" or learning enterprise, and a formal agreement with the graduate. Following the start and use of the subsidy, enterprises must submit reports on the outcomes of the graduate's time at the enterprise, an account of the exit conversation, and an overview of the costs made by the enterprise. The administration required is necessary to promote and ensure a mutually beneficial experience for both the enterprise and the graduate in question.

Monitoring

The RVO monitors the quality of the work-based training positions offered by visiting a sample of beneficiary enterprises. The RVO also monitors the number of work-based training positions being offered, for which courses and vocational education programmes these positions are suitable, and the nature of the contract or agreement that is made with the student who makes use of such a position. The use of sample-based quality inspections is relatively efficient, and the new online portal is also a more innovative and efficient approach to checking applications.

Innovativeness
Slightly innovative

The measure is somewhat innovative. It follows an interesting approach of encouraging enterprises to offer work-based training positions to help students complete their education and gain work experience. The measure has a special focus on students studying and wanting to work in sectors with high skills demand and on researchers active in sectors that contribute to the Netherlands’ knowledge economy. The simplified administration and use of an online portal for applicants to use is also an innovative element.

Sustainability

Evidence of effectiveness

The measure seems to be relatively effective. For the school year 2014-2015, 93,000 applications received for work-based learning positions. This is a slight increase compared to 2013-2014, when the number was 92,600. This is difficult to evaluate, as the target number of participating enterprises and work-based training positions is not known. At the national level, the government is satisfied with the performance of the subsidy, though from 2017 a budget reduction was introduced, as less HBO, WO, and PhD and post-doc students made use of the training positions than expected. Unexpected costs arose from the suboptimal alignment between enterprises and the educational programmes. This was one of the reasons why the online portal was introduced, namely to allow more efficient checking of the applications from enterprises. Furthermore, a trend came to light in 2015 that students in practice sometimes did not receive enough support and face-to-face time with the individual responsible for their guidance within the enterprise.

Engagement of stakeholders

The stakeholders involved here are the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the government agency the RVO, enterprises and employers, and VET institutions. The Subsidie Praktijkleren instrument has a central administration, and reports annually to the government about the performance of the subsidy.

Transferability
Easily transferable

The measure appears quite transferable since a government agency implements the instrument. Enterprises submit applications in exchange for a subsidy to help them prepare their organisation to offer a good quality work-based training position. As such, the dynamics in the measure are not particularly complex and do not require much extra administrative or institutional input to run. Human resources personnel and an online portal are required for the receipt and check of applications, and financial resources are needed to cover the subsidies that the enterprises receive.

Sustainability

The instrument will run until 2019. Pending an evaluation, the instrument may continue after 2019. It appears the instrument became increasingly popular amongst enterprises, given the slight increases in participating enterprises.