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EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

6.7 Skills for innovation

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Innovation in formal education
  2. Fostering innovation through non-formal and informal learning and youth work

Innovation in formal education

Middle vocational education (MBO)

As previously described in Chapter 3, Paragraph 8, the government is striving to make vocational education more attractive and accessible for students. Since the newly installed cabinet Rutte III (26 October 2017), the government has put forward several new plans to improve the quality of vocational education and the connection and transition between the lower, middle and higher levels. This includes the improvement of skills for innovation. New plans are presented on the governments website of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences: 

The cabinet has expressed that they want to stimulate the transition in vocational education from lower level (VMBO) to middle level (MBO) and from middle level to higher level (HBO). It wants students with MBO level 1 and 2 to finish earlier, when they complete their lower level vocational education (VMBO). This is stated in the coalition ‘Faith in the future’  (Regeerakkoord ‘Vertrouwen in de toekomst’) (10 October 2017).

Furthermore, the cabinet wants to introduce a vocational certificate for students in middle vocational education (MBO) who have not completed their pre-entering or level 2 diploma. The certificate should show what a student has learned until then. Students with a vocational certificate have to be enabled to get a diploma later on.

In new budget rounds for the connection between middle vocational education (MBO) and the labour market (12 October 2017), the budget has been allotted to 9 partnerships. The partnerships are collaborations between MBO schools in the fields of care and welfare, building, media, entrepreneurship and security. They receive a total budget of 9 million to improve the connection between MBO education and the labour market. With this budget the total investments of business, education and government in this round is about 27 million euro.

Some examples of partnerships that receive part of the budget are:

  • Regional Education Centre (ROC) of Twente together with the Twente Care Academy. Twente is an area in the province of Overijssel in the North of the Netherlands. The partnership is an innovative learn-and-work, practice and test environment.
  • Techniek College Rotterdam, a partnership of the Albeda College and the Zadkine College in Rotterdam. They get the funds to improve the connection between their Practorate Cloud Engineering ICT and the companies involved.
  • The educational programme ‘The Rotterdam Plus’ of the Albeda College, Zadkine College and Hoornbeeck College to provide more employees with a MBO level 2 education with jobs in nursing homes in the region of Rotterdam.

Regional Investment Fund MBO (Regionaal Investeringsfonds MBO)

The target of the Regional Investment Fund of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is to better prepare MBO students for the current and future labour market, by introducing them to and letting them work with state of the art technics and methods during their study. 103 partnerships have already been established in the Netherlands. Partnerships of schools and companies have two possibilities to send in their plans and apply for financing next year. The first round is in January 2018.


Fostering innovation through non-formal and informal learning and youth work

Non-formal and informal learning

The Erasmus+ programme is a large-scale initiative that enables young people to develop their skills and competences. See Chapter 3, Paragraph 8 for more information.

There are no national initiatives for fostering innovation through non-formal and informal youth work apart from the Erasmus+ programme.

Innovation in youth work

The method Youth Organizing is an example of an innovate method for urban youth work. The method has been analysed and the workable elements of the method were identified and described to be transmissible to improve the quality and the effectiveness of youth work in general.

The Youth Spot Lectorate of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences published the report Onderzoek naar Youth Organizing als specifieke methodiek van het grootstedelijk jongerenwerk (Researching Youth Organizing as a specific method of urban youth work) (2017). The authors describe how youth workers and their organizations in Amsterdam, Haarlem and Zaanstad use Youth Organizing as a method in urban youth work. The results are positioned in literature and form the basis for an evidence-based method description of Youth Organizing in youth work.


Academie van de Stad (Academy of the City)

Students of the Minor Creativity and Innovation of the Amsterdam Academy of Applied Sciences came up with ideas to motivate young people from two neighbourhoods in Amsterdam, de Pijp and Rivierenbuurt, to actively participate. They pitched their ideas to a jury of employees of the municipality, Academie van de Stad and a youth worker. The students came up with reactive and innovative ideas, such as ‘Spray to spray’ for pupils of primary schools to write positive and negative comments about their neighbourhood on banners, and an app to discuss and chat with other young people from the same neighbourhood. Selected as the best idea was ‘The River & Pipe games’, a series of games with obstacles. This race between various teams of young people from the same neighbourhood is played twice a year. In each game, they find an answer to a question of the municipality. The teams are followed in an online series. The winner will help the municipality to implement the solution. The city council decides how they are going to use the students’ ideas.