Pre-vocational secondary education (VMBO)
VMBO is a four-year programme offering theoretical and practical courses.
Pupils in years 1 and 2 follow a general curriculum.
At the end of the second year, pupils choose an occupational sector with a view to further vocational education and training, and their future jobs. There are four sectors in the theoretical pathway (VMBO-T):
- care and welfare;
- engineering and technology;
Pupils in the other VMBO pathways choose one out of the following 10 profiles:
- Building, housing and interiors
- Engineering, fitting out and energy
- Transport and mobility
- Media, design and IT
- Maritime and technology
- Care and welfare
- Business and commerce
- Catering, baking and leisure
- Animals, plants and land
- Services and products.
VMBO pupils can also specialise within their chosen sector or profile. For instance, the engineering and technology sector options include building techniques, metalworking and electrical engineering.
Learning pathways in the upper years of VMBO
At the end of the second year, pupils also choose a learning pathway to suit their aptitudes and abilities. There are four options:
- theoretical programme (VMBO-T): pupils mainly take general subjects in this pathway;
- combined programme: one of the general subjects is replaced by four hours of vocational training. The general subjects are taught at the same level as in VMBO-T;
- middle-management vocational programme: pupils receive 12 hours of vocational training. The general subjects are taught at a slightly lower level than in VMBO-T;
- basic vocational programme: pupils receive about 12 hours of vocational training. The general subjects are taught at a slightly lower level than in the middle-management vocational pathway.
Upper years of VMBO: basic qualification and attainment targets
Pupils must attend school until they turn 18 or until they obtain a basic qualification (at least MBO level 2).
Learning support (LWOO), usually in the form of extra lessons or help with homework, is available for pupils who need it.