Vocational education and training in the Netherlands

Options to study for a specific career through vocational education
and training or VET are available
in the Netherlands after age 12. By the third year of secondary
education, 53% of students are in prevocational programmes
known as VMBO: half in vocationally oriented
programmes, half in general programmes
offered by VMBO schools. This can be followed
by upper secondary VET for learners aged 16 or over, leading to qualifications at four
levels in entry, basic vocational, professional, and
middle management programmes. Entry-level programmes
are for learners without qualification
at lower secondary level. Basic vocational programmes
teach basic skills, such as welding or hairdressing. Professional programmes
are more advanced, providing training to become
an all-round professional. A middle management qualification
gives access to higher VET offered by universities
of applied sciences. Upper secondary VET
covers four areas of study: green and agriculture, technology, economics,
and care and welfare. In the coming years, Cedefop forecasts that technology programmes will supply metal, machinery and electrical trade workers, and drivers and mobile plant operators to replace older workers leaving the labour market. The most popular
learning option is school-based, in which at least 20% of study time is spent working in companies. One in every
five students is an apprentice, combining learning at work, usually four days
a week, with learning at school. Around 50% of middle management
graduates start working. The rest continue
to higher professional education, also an option for students with upper secondary
general education diplomas. Professional bachelor degree programmes
allow access to professional and, with a bridge programme,
academic master programmes. Recently developed two-year
associate degree programmes are open to
middle management graduates. Cedefop forecasts more than
one million job openings for business and other professionals
until 2025. Higher VET graduates
will help fill these. Private providers offer continuing
VET or CVET, often supported by sectoral training
and development funds. You can find more information on
European Union Member State VET systems, plus Norway and Iceland at www.cedefop.europa.eu

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