Retraining for employees and entrepreneurs

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO | Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, EZK

The market is always changing. In order to grow and survive as a company, you want to be able to respond to these changes. But what if you or your employees lack the knowledge and skills? Time to consider retraining or further training. The government offers various schemes and subsidies for this purpose.

Why retraining or further training?

Retraining or further training can be a solution in, for example, the following situations:
  • You need professionals who are trained in, for example, technology, IT, or healthcare. But you get little or no response to your vacancies. You do employ people who are open to doing other work, but do not yet have the knowledge. Or you know job seekers who are motivated, but do not have the right education. A retraining program can offer a solution.
  • There is increasingly less demand for the work that some of your employees do. For example, through digitisation. Or an employee can no longer do their current job due to an accident or illness. You can offer these employees new opportunities through retraining. Either inside or outside your company.
  • As a self-employed professional, you get too little income from your current work. You do see opportunities in other activities. You only lack the right knowledge and skills for those. Through retraining you can change your core activities and make your business profitable again.

See which retraining schemes are available to you

The government finds it important for companies and employees to continue developing. That is why it helps with subsidies, loans, free online training, and tax benefits. You can make use of the following schemes:

1. Subsidy for retraining for promising professions in ICT and technology

Within IT and technology various professions are in high demand. To train employees in these fields, you can make use of the subsidy scheme retraining for ICT and technology. You can use this subsidy for the retraining of existing or new employees. You can apply for an amount of €3750 per employee.


Applications are open until 1 December 2021

You can apply for the subsidy (in Dutch) for retraining to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) until 1 December 2021.

2. Free online training via NL keeps on learning

You or your employees can follow free online courses (in Dutch) at various training institutes via the NL keeps on learning scheme (NL leert door). Courses are available in all kinds of areas, such as healthcare, IT, and technology. The duration of the courses varies from a week to several months. You register directly (in Dutch) with the training provider. There are also other organisations that offer free training (in Dutch).

3. Practice-based learning subsidy

Some professions are best learnt in practice. That is why you can offer students from, for example, vocational education (MBO) or higher professional education (HBO) a place in your company where they can learn on the job. With the subsidy scheme practice-based learning you will be reimbursed part of the supervision costs for this. You can also use the subsidy for salary or supervision costs of a PhD student or technological designer in training. At the end of the school year, you can apply for the subsidy at RVO (in Dutch).

4. Lifelong learning credit

Do you or your employee want to take a course at a higher professional education (HBO) institution or a university? Or a full-time vocational training path (beroepsopleidende leerweg, BOL) at an MBO institution? Then you can use the lifelong learning credit (in Dutch). This is a student loan for people aged 18 to 56 who are not entitled to regular student finance. After finishing your studies, you repay the loan within 15 years. You apply for the lifelong learning credit from the Education Executive Agency (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs, DUO).

5. Tax deduction for training costs and STAP budget

If you or your employees follow training, the costs are often deductible from income tax (in Dutch). In 2022, this training cost deduction will be replaced by the STAP budget. This is a subsidy of €1000 for all workers and job seekers who want to follow training. This training must be registered in the STAP training register. You can apply for the STAP budget (in Dutch) to UWV from 1 March 2022.

Discuss training and development

It is important for your company that your employees continue to train and develop. This allows you to better respond to changes in the market. That is why you should regularly discuss this with your employees: what do they need to be able to do their jobs well, now and in the future? Use the tips and tools (in Dutch) for learning and development from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW).

Repay part of the costs

Employers sometimes hesitate to invest in their employees, as they might resign before bringing any return on that investment. To avoid such a situation, you can ask them to sign an agreement stating that if they leave the company within a certain time frame, they need to repay (part of) the training costs. This time frame can be 2 or 5 years, for instance, depending on costs made.

Help with finding suitable training

Are you self-employed and do you need training to transition to other work? Then the municipality may be able to help you find the right training. Contact the regional mobility team (RMT, in Dutch) in your area for more information. Read more about the help offered by municipalities with looking for other work. As an employer, you can contact an RMT if you want help with guiding an employee to another job.

Any questions?

Contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency or call them at 088-042 42 42. Or ask other entrepreneurs for advice on Higherlevel.nl (you can post your question in English to the forum)

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, EZK