Youth and employment
Young people in the Netherlands are obliged to attend school until they are 18 years old, or have achieved a basic qualification. It may be in secondary vocational education (MBO level 2), senior general secondary education (HAVO) or pre-university education (VWO). The government is actively combating school dropout. There are regulations for under-18s who are working. Unemployed young people receive assistance from central government to find a job.
Restrictions on working under 18
There are restrictions on the types of work young people under the age of 18 years are allowed to do. It must be age-appropriate, and not overly taxing or dangerous. There is also a legal limit on the number of hours they are allowed to work per day. Internships, vacation jobs and part-time work are allowed within these limits.
Tackling youth unemployment
At a time of economic crisis, like now, young people are especially vulnerable. Bringing down youth unemployment is therefore an important goal of the Dutch government.
Central government is investing €50 million in 2013 and 2014 to get more young people into work. In addition, an ambassador for tackling youth unemployment has been appointed for a two-year period up to 2015. The government wants to join employers in improving job market opportunities for young people by bringing in the following measures:
- Creating an extra 10,094 jobs combining work and study. The youth unemployment ambassador agreed this on the government’s behalf with employers and employees in October 2013.
- Employers can qualify for financial support by making agreements in their sector about (more) training placements including those combining work and study. The government helps by relaxing the regulations and/or contributing financially.
- The government contributes 50% of the funding for agreements that help to create more jobs for young people. These include joint schemes by employers’ organisations and trade unions. €600 million is available for a two-year period.
Reducing the number of school dropouts
The School Ex programme is designed to reduce school dropout, especially among students in secondary vocational education (MBO). MBO certificate-holders with moderate to poor job prospects are encouraged to enrol in further studies to increase their chances on the job market. Alternatively, they can get on-the-job training, which should also boost their chances of finding work soon.
In the near future, people with technical skills will be in great demand. The government has signed a technology pact with the education sector, employers and trade unions. It contains practical plans for making technical education more relevant to the labour market.