STAP subsidies limited to government approved courses for the rest of the year
Netherlands residents will be able to apply for the next round of the STAP Budget on September 18. The STAP subsidy for professional development this year will exclusively fund training programs recognized by the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science, the Cabinet announced on Monday. According to the Cabinet, this decision stems from the learnings of previous rounds and the cuts to the program announced earlier this year.
The STAP budget is an allowance of 1,000 euros intended to help people increase their chances in the labor market through retraining or additional training. Anyone aged 18 or older can apply, provided they’re not receiving a State pension. Applications for the the next round of STAP budget will open on September 18. People will have another opportunity to apply for STAP subsidies during the likely final application round of the year on November 15.
The budget for the upcoming application rounds has been set at 10 million euros for each period, a stark decrease from the last round on July 2. According to the Cabinet, this adjustment will reduce the number of courses available to align them more closely with the current labor market.
“The Netherlands is facing major social challenges, such as climate change and healthcare issues. This requires well-trained people. The new round of the STAP budget will, therefore be used more specifically for crucial shortage sectors such as healthcare, technology, and the process industry,” stated the caretaker minister for social affairs and employment, Karien van Gennip.
This limit is a response to a motion from the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, which called for stricter STAP subsidy requirements. Launched last year to replace the tax deduction for training costs because the deduction was too complicated, the scheme proved extremely popular. But it soon also became apparent that some were abusing it. People applied for the subsidy for courses unrelated to their work, and providers increased their course prices to collect more STAP money.
The Cabinet announced in April that the scheme would be scrapped in 2024. However, given the ongoing labor shortages in the country, the availability of training programs next year remains uncertain. More details about this matter may be revealed during the Cabinet's budget presentation on September 19.