Dutch VET

What is your experience in cooperation with parties in the business world and/or educational providers concerning transnational mobility? What is your best practice?

The Dutch approach on the accreditation and quality assurance of (learning) companies for students to do their work placement. In the Netherlands in VET a work-based learning approach is handled which means students have to work in a company for some time of their curricula. As a wet it is stated that these companies have to be accredited with a quality label in order to fulfil all educational tasks. The accreditation of the company is a legal task of the Dutch Centres of Expertise.


These Centres of Expertise recruit companies that can contribute to the practical education of these students. The companies then register through a website and request an accreditation. The Centres of Expertise then assess these companies and offer them support in various ways to supervise the work placement learner on the work floor. When a company is accredited and therefore registered in a database, it also is assigned with a quality label which they can use for their own marketing strategies.
As a bonus, the Centre of Expertise for the trade sector (KCH) has every year the “Human Capital Award” which distinguishes the best learning company in this sector.

How did the contact between the parties arise?

This accreditation system is very common and known in the Netherlands. A company can become an accredited learning company by contacting the Centre of Expertise for their sector and registering via the website. After giving information especially about possible functions and work processes in the company this information is send to the consultant of the Centre of Expertise. The consultant makes an appointment with the company and in a depth interview they decide together about the accreditation and which qualifications are suitable for the company. Of course, there is always the consideration between supply and demand. The company can only grow in his role as training company if there is a regular supply and demands of learners for this company.

The consultant visits then this company on a regular basis. The accredited companies are visible for learners on the website www.stagemarkt.nl. On this website the learners can find learning possibilities and the company profile of every accredited company.

What have you achieved more in this cooperation model than without the cooperation?

Quality assurance and good and intensive contact with the responsible persons within a company. The cooperation between VET schools and the (learning) companies through a Centre of Expertise is appreciated.

What difficulties did you experience in the cooperation model?

It is obligatory to have a work placement tutor (praktijkopleider) within the company who supervises and accompanies the student during their work placement. The responsible person for this role often changes which makes it difficult for the consultant to have a good contact with the company.

Mostly, the yield for educational providers and students in cooperation with the business world is clear. What was specifically the yield for the business world in this cooperation model?

The companies are motivated to become an accredited learning company because it says something good about their image and their work. It is often a marketing strategy that companies apply for the accreditation and also it saves them efforts for the recruiting of new employees. Often after a work placement a student is offered a contract as soon as he received his/her diploma.

Was there a Memorandum of Understanding or a Partnership agreement signed between the (two) parties?

The accreditation is valid for a period of 2 years, which can only be extended by the consultant if the company host a learner on a regular basis and if the work placement trainer develops in his supervising role. Every year there is a client satisfaction survey for the  work placement trainer of the company and the learner. Every 2 years there is a survey for the VET providers.

About the Author: Maurizio

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