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Retraining for employees and entrepreneurs

This information is provided by:Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVONetherlands Enterprise Agency RVOMinistry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, EZKMinistry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, EZKNederlandse versie

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. STAP budget for training and development

The STAP budget was a subsidy of €1,000 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) at the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV). The final application period opened on 15 November 2023 and is now closed. An announcement about a replacement training budget is expected to be announced in 2024.

2. Free online training

You or your employees can follow free online courses (in Dutch) at various training institutes. 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. Incentive scheme learning and development within SMEs

Do you want to invest in your personnel’s expertise, growth and development? Then you can apply for the Incentive scheme learning and development within SMEs (SLIM subsidy). SMEs and large companies in agriculture, hospitality, or recreation qualify. They can use the subsidy to implement activities such as career advice, apprenticeships or using a company training centre to encourage employees to further develop their skills.

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 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)

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