European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network Database, ELGPN Database

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Name of the good/interesting practice/initiative/policy

Career Orientation and Guidance (COG) Incentives plans the Netherlands


the Netherlands

I am proposing that this example will be published also in the KSLLL database


1. Background

What makes this an example of good/interesting practice/initiative/policy?
- The motivation of the initiative (What is the history/background of the policy?)
- Linkages with LLG policy priorities (Please add references to other national/EU policies or documents)
- Participants
Two important initiatives have set the course for Career Orientation and Guidance. Both on secondary education (VO) and on senior secondary vocational education level (MBO) incentive plans were drawn up. Both projects started in 2009 and are still being carried out.
Both plans receive funding from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The Ministry formulated the principles underpinning the projects.
The Netherlands Association of Secondary Schools (VO-raad) initiated the LOB Incentive Project (2009) to encourage schools to improve the quality of their guidance services. The main aim is to get students to think carefully before deciding on continuing education or a career, based on past experience and their own views. Many factors play a role in this respect, ranging from having a clear view of guidance to encouraging regional cooperation and expertise at school. The LOB Incentive Project, coordinated by the MBO-Diensten project office, is being carried out in cooperation with SBB (formerly Colo) and Skills Netherlands.

Aims and targets
- Objectives of the initiative (What did the policy set out to achieve?)
- Target group
- Methods applied to reach the objective (technological and /or pedagogical)
By intensifying guidance for students, the project aims to:
• reduce the number of students who drop out, for example because they have chosen the wrong programme;
• give students an accurate picture of their talents, qualities and potential so that they can make sensible decisions concerning continuing education or a career.
Both incentive plans are based on the body of thought of Kuijpers and Meijers.
Kuijpers introduced the concept of career skills. These skills constitute a “beacon” in the field of education:
• Reflecting on motives: Investigating wishes and values important for a career.
• Reflecting on quality: Investigating skills and aptitudes and interpreting them in terms of qualities and talents that can be used to achieve goals in learning and work.
• Exploring work: Exploring work-related demands and values and the possibility of changing one’s work.
• Managing career: Planning and influencing learning and working. This involves making well-considered decisions and taking action to match one’s work and learning to one’s personal work-related qualities, motives, and challenges.
• Networking: Building and maintaining a group of professional contacts in the employment sector that is tailored specifically to one’s own career development.
The design of the learning environment is important in the development of career skills. A powerful, career-focused learning environment has three features
1. Practice-based, functional and real-life. This eases the transition from theory to practice.
2. Active, participatory. This means that students deal with the learning demand-driven content interactively and comprehensively.
3. Reflective and in dialogue

2. Implementation

Strategy and actions (Please describe the approach adopted to make the reform work and any actions taken.)
- Level of implementation (national, regional etc.)
- Implementation (description)
Spearheads of the projects are:
- Professionalization of teachers
- Improvement of transfer from prevocational education-senior secondary vocational education –university vocational education (MBO incentive plan)
- Improvement of transfer from VO to university (VO incentive plan)
- Parental involvement
- More self management of students in COG and study choice

Regional cooperation and partnerships play an important role in further development steps

Monitoring and evaluation
- What has been put in place for monitoring and evaluation?
- What actors are involved?
Impact assessment and research are instruments used. The project goals are concretely specified and monitored. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is closely involved in this.

3. Outcomes

Achievements (Please describe the main outcomes/results according to the following headings. Each option can be answered - up to 50 words)
- Specific results
- Cost effectiveness
- Budget
- Innovative aspects
- Specific results
Both incentive plans report more awareness of COG in schools. In the VO incentive plan 7 steps are defined to measure improvement. There appears to be more formulated vision on COG at schools, more developments. IN the VO plan organizing professionalization lacks behind the goals set.
- Cost effectiveness
Because of the decentralized character of the plans this is not clearly visible.
- Budget
Because of the decentralized character of the plans this is not clearly visible.
- Innovative aspects
Both plans clearly delivered many innovative instruments and tools, as well as inspiring and innovative good practices. The mbo project gathered all this in a public available Toolbox website.

Success factors (What key success factors have led to or prevented success?)
- Lessons learnt
- Unintended impacts (Have there been any unintended impacts? Positive or negative?)
The character of the projects is that the Ministry stimulates, not determines developments. This enables creative and innovative solutions with bottom up ownership.
The projects are based on research and researchers are involved in implementing the incentive plans;
Success factor is the network approach: active involvement off all relevant stakeholders

Schools have their own dynamics in improving COG. There are definitely no fixed steps that can be defined here. In the VO plan the professionalization of teachers regarding COG competences lacks behind.
More schools have to be involved, and in schools already involved in COG pilots many developments can still be taken but the blueprint and the tools of how this could be established have become clearer

Strengths and weaknesses
- What areas of the policy can we learn lessons from?
- Are there still challenges ahead?
From policy perspective the incentive projects are good examples of bottom up approach supported by top down incentives. The projects give strong stimulus to regional development of career guidance services. Cooperation in the project between and cooperation of relevant stakeholders embeds developments. Many innovative tools were developed.
Strong element is the use of general accepted theoretical models - and the involvement of researchers in the projects.

4. Additional narrative description of the policy/practice/initiative


Additional information

Name of contact

Role (in policy initiative)

Organization name





Website address

Documents and publications
LOB: de investering waard (2012) (VO-Raad)
Doorstart stimuleringsproject LOB ) (2012) (MBO Diensten)

Attached files


This information was provided/updated by:
Petervan Deursen

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good practice, initiative, interesting practice, policy, career management skills, access, quality, co-operation, co-ordination, guidance in schools, The Netherlands