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.