Dutch commit €75 million to youth apprenticeships

Minister Jet Bussemaker (Education) has made 75 million euros available for vocational schools to focus more on specialized professions such as a piano technician, prosthetic technician or shoe repairer. She made this announcement in a letter to the Tweede Kamer (lower house of parliament) today.

According to the minister, these specialized professions often have good job opportunities, but a lack of familiarity cause students not to courses in these directions.

In addition to the extra money, vocational schools will also have more opportunities to offer innovative new programs or to offer courses in collaboration with other schools. There will also be a new public transport pass for students younger than 18 years that will allow young people to study specialist courses that are offered further from home. Vocational schools that offer an unique professional course will also be given a special license to protect against unnecessary competition.

"Specialist professionals are an indispensable link in the Dutch economy and society. They have very specialized, often unique skills and knowledge. Think of an orthopedic technician who makes custom shoes for people with physical disabilities. Or a piano technician who has the knowledge and skill to tune a piano." Bussemaker said. "Young people who choose a specialist vocational course have struck gold. Society will jump on them. We need to put real craftsmanship more into the spotlight."