The second Digital Frontrunners workshop on future skills recently took place in the Hague. The three-day event brought together over 40 policymakers, industry representatives and experts from countries in the Benelux and Nordic regions to support the creation of better skills policy. The workshop was developed in collaboration with the Dutch government, allowing us to learn from pioneering approaches from The Netherlands that are enhancing the capacity of the government to build a workforce fit for the future. In this spotlight blog, we highlight some of these innovative initiatives and programmes operating in a volatile labour market and influenced by rapid technological change.
The Netherlands has long been leading the way when it comes to digitalisation and responding to it. According to the EDPR 2017, nearly the whole Dutch population (92 per cent) makes use of the Internet, and the digitalisation of public services was among the most advanced in the EU in 2017. When it comes to technical skills, 5 per cent of the Dutch workforce are ICT specialists, which is higher than the EU average of 3.5 per cent.
The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is overseeing the digital transition and investigating its effect on education in The Netherlands. Meanwhile, The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy has been responsible for building the Dutch Digital Agenda, which was set up to digitalise the Dutch economy in a number of ways: through education, knowledge and innovation; developing open and high-speed infrastructure; increasing security and trust; providing more opportunities for entrepreneurs; and digitisation of a number of sectors.
The Netherlands’ skills system also takes into account the wide range of stakeholders that are involved in delivering an effective digital strategy. The Netherlands National Coalition builds on the existing ECP – Platform for the information society, which is an independent and neutral platform in which government, industry and social organisations work together and exchange knowledge about the impact and responsible application of new technologies in Dutch society. Almost 200 ECP members work to bolster the digital skills of the Dutch people in all age groups to boost innovation and labour productivity.
The Netherlands is a Digital Frontrunner with excellent digital infrastructure and highly educated professionals; but like many European countries, the country is experiencing a number of future skills challenges. We outline below some Dutch initiatives that are addressing these challenges in two key ways: building new models of cross-sectoral collaboration between knowledge institutions and businesses; and by making technical professions more attractive and accessible to everyone.
Visit Techniekpact website
Visit the PBT website
"The National STEM Platform is an ecosystem where we try to work more together"Beatrice Boots - Director, The Dutch National STEM platform
Visit the Katapult website
"The ‘Katapult way’ – building public-private partnerships between knowledge institutes and businesses – has shown to be an effective way to bridge the skills gap"Dominiek Veen - Project Manager, Katapult
Visit the Roc Mondriaan website
“The cyber security is broader than people usually think – taking cues from sociology and technology, it can be seen as a complex group of competencies”Vincent Raphael - Project Leader, [email protected]
Visit the Make IT Work website
“A career in IT can be an exciting opportunity. Fast-track training from the Make IT Work programme in the Netherlands is helping university graduates without advanced IT skills achieve that dream"Baukje Vetter - Account Manager, Make IT Work