SWOT analysis guidance in the Netherlands
Peter van Deursen
Erik van Beek
Prepared for WP2 of ELGPN
This report gives an overview of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the Dutch guidance system. It is prepared for the Work Package 2 (Access) group of the ELGPN. However, the SWOT analysis is aimed at the guidancesystem in the Netherlands as a whole.
The report is based on official or general accepted documents but is not reflect an official Dutch viewpoint on guidance. Rather it reflects the viewpoint of the ELGPN representatives in the ELGPN network.
A recent reflection note on the present state of the guidance system in the Netherlands can be found in McCarthy (2009).
Project directorateLearning and Working
A development in the Netherlands that is important for understanding guidance policy is the establishment of the project directorate learning and working. This directorate is a joint activity of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. The Action Plan 2005-2007 had two basic principles: 1. Lifelong learning is required tomaximise participation of citizens in the knowledge economy and society. In addition to a professional career, citizens have a learning career. These careers should alternate and enhance each other. The Project Directorate applies these principles to three programme themes: dual pathways (learning on the job), the establishment of regional learning and working information counters and the promotionand innovation of eliminating obstacles. The practical approach of the Project Directorate was continued in an action plan 2008-2001 See for background Project directorate Learning & Working, 2008. Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) and regional cooperation structures, both reinforced by the Project Directorate are covered as strength and opportunity respectively in the SWOT analysis.Weakness
The potential weaknesses of the Dutch guidance system are already pointed out in OECD, 2002:
(a) The limited attention attached to career guidance, and particularly to contacts with the labour market, within the general education part of the education system.
(b) More generally, the fragmented nature of the guidance system as a whole: arguably, it is not currently a system at all, in anymeaningful sense, but a series of disconnected entities.
(c) The lack of accountability, monitoring and quality assurance: this is particularly evident in relation to schools, but is an issue in all sectors.
(d) The lack of clarity regarding the role of government within a decentralised and marketised system.
Seven years later it can be concluded that these weaknesses still stand verystrongly. More background to the Dutch guidance system and its weaknesses can be found in Jansen, 2006.
Strengths of the Dutch guidance are also pointed out in OECD, 2002. This report mentioned as potential strengths of the Dutch guidance system
a) The extent and quality both of labour market information and of consumer information, for use in guidance.
(b) The formal affirmation withinthe vocational education system of the central importance of the student’s career path.
(c) The emergent market in career guidance and information services created by the policy of decentralisation and marketisation: still limited and fragile, but with potential for
(d) The network of Public Employment Services, in Dutch since 2009 ‘UWV Werkbedrijf’ (formerly known as CWI),alongside the werk.nl website and the proposed customer support centre.
The Centers for Public Employment Services have an important role in providing vocational and work based information. However, they have a limited role in providing guidance to citizens because their main objective is getting people to work as soon as possible. Typically guidance is provided by private institutions which have...