On 6 and 7 June, the MBO Raad (Association of VET Colleges of the Netherlands) kicked-off the range of five Peer Learning Activity that will be organised in the framework of the “Lifelong Learning for All” project, by organising a visit to the Netherlands. The project is a social dialogue project jointly organised by the MBO Raad (leading partner) and EFEE and with the cooperation of ETUCE. Furthermore, by exchanging good practices project aims to find strategies on how social partners in education (and training) can promote quality and inclusive VET to enhance lifelong learning for all.

For the first meeting day, the participants gathered in a VET college in The Hague: ROC Mondriaan. The programme offered a wide range of speakers showcasing instruments, which aim to promote the development of a ‘lifelong development culture’ in the Netherlands. Herewith the main focus was on the use of ‘public private partnerships’ between (public) VET institutions and (private) companies to make lifelong learning for all a reality.

Firstly, Riemer Kemper from the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) explained that since 2019, the SER has started observing, showing, reinforcing and linking good examples of public private partnerships in regions and sectors, and addressing bottlenecks on a national level. This ‘decentralized’ role of the SER is new. The approach is not to determine what needs to be done top down, but work with stakeholders in regions and sectors on a concrete action agenda to realise a positive learning culture for all (working and non-working) people. Secondly, a presentation was made by Tineke Porschen on her work in the framework of the initiative ‘Menskracht 7’, part of the hosting VET college (ROC Mondriaan). It is a public-private partnership to support lifelong learning and help unemployable people overcome barriers to the job market. For this purpose, Menskracht 7 provides training and courses for adults with a distance to the labour market. They do this in cooperation with municipalities, the business community and ROC Mondriaan. Thirdly, a speaker from the Dutch Labour Foundation gave insight in their agenda for Lifelong Development. According to the Foundation, the actions that should be implemented to stimulate Lifelong learning are: transparency of learning rights, making individual learning and development budgets possible, sectoral commitment, and also regional cooperation/initiatives. The last presentation of the day showcased good examples of public private partnerships in the STEM areas. Thomas Boekhoud (Platform Talent voor Techniek) explained that in order to (re)develop the education system to equip youngsters and adults with the right tools and innovation skills for the future, the Dutch government introduced the concept of public-private partnerships (centres of vocational innovation and centres of expertise) in 2011. In the past 8 years every vocational school in the Netherlands founded at least one public-private partnership, in total there are now about 170 of these centres in the Netherlands.

The second day the participants visited the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Since July 2018, the Ministry, supported by the EU Upskilling Pathways initiative, has been explicitly stimulating the flexibility of the learning offer of VET institutions to (adult) learners. The aim is to further develop a tailored learning offer for Lifelong development in every region. After the meeting, the participants continued their trip to Amsterdam where they visited a ‘talent market’ at ROC of Amsterdam (VET college) that brings together employers and students of the VET college in the field of technology (technological personnel is very scarce in the Netherland). The ROC trains 200s students per year; many of them are “new Dutchmen” and have talents and skills that are required in the labour market. In order to successfully deploy this target group in a company, the ROC informs companies about foreign language speakers, contextual education and the connection to the labour market. Furthermore, companies receive a toolbox with concrete support for coaches on the shop floor.

The next Peer Learning Activity of the project will bring us to Slovenia on 5 and 6 November.

For more information, please contact: sarah.kik@educationemployers.eu