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Guidance System in the Netherlands – Introduction

In the Netherlands, there has been an ongoing process for many years of decentralization and market-orientation with regard to career guidance. This has resulted in a situation in which career guidance is offered by various institutions, both public and private.

The process of decentralization and market orientation has resulted in four areas where the main guidance services are being offered:

  • guidance activities within the educational system;
  • guidance activities of the government;
  • guidance activities of employers and trade unions and
  • guidance activities of private-sector organizations.

Recent developments

Some recent developments in career oriëntation and guidance are outlined here, as well as development in cross-sectoral themes such as early school leaving and youth unemployment.

Incentive plans career guidance (CEG) Secondary education and VET

Two important initiatives have set the course for Career Orientation and Guidance. Both on secondary education (VO) and on senior secondary vocational education level (MBO) incentive plans were drawn up. Both projects started in 2009 and are still being carried out.
Both plans receive funding from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The Ministry formulated the principles underpinning the projects.
The Netherlands Association of Secondary Schools (VO-raad) initiated the LOB Incentive Project (2009) to encourage schools to improve the quality of their guidance services. The main aim is to get students to think carefully before deciding on continuing education or a career, based on past experience and their own views. Many factors play a role in this respect, ranging from having a clear view of guidance to encouraging regional cooperation and expertise at school.  The project has been ended with a recommendation for the future and quality improvement of guidance.


The LOB Incentive Project, coordinated by the MBO-Diensten / MBO Raad (council of Vet schools)  project office, is being carried out in cooperation with SBB (formerly Colo) . and will be evaluated in the end of 2015.  Many relevant instruments have been developed and improvement of guidance by training of teachers is established.

www. LOB4mbo.nl


Early school leaving and Youth unemployment approach

Dutch early school leaving approach is outlined on the website http://www.aanvalopschooluitval.nl/english

The Dutch target is to have no more than 25,000 new early school leavers each year by 2016.

The integrated approach and accurate record-keeping system are internationally considered as good practice. Career guidance is implicitly included and many good practices are described.

In 2014 Dutch government published ‘Dutch initiatives to prevent and combat  youth unemployment’.  Various guidance related measures are included.


In higher education advanced entry is compulsory, in combination with study choice activities to prevent drop out and switching in the first study year. A similar approach is prepared for VET schools.

The attack on youth unemployment included career guidance measures.

There ambassador on youth employment emphasised the importance of career learning,

The Ministry of Socials affairs and Employment and the Minjstry of Education, Science and Culture are working on an action plan aimed at mobilizing career guidance in attacking youth unemployment . One focus will be on  vulnerable youth in deprived areas. This will be addressed in cooperation with municipalities, secondary schools and VET schools.

Learning working desks (Leerwerkloketten)

In all labour market regions one or more leerwerkloketten are established. Leerwerkloketten are partnerships between organisations  in the region who  are involved in learning and working: public employment service, municipalities, educational institutes, knowledge centers and labor market. Together they develop activities, services, products  with the goal to improve the transfer from education to labour market. Career guidance is one of the instruments used. IN 2015 there will be an evaluation of the Leerwerkloketten.