Dutch Minister seeks inspiration from UK on vocational training and student well-being to boost education and science system

International knowledge exchange on policies and best practices will help the Netherlands raise its education standards and to make the sector more responsive to today’s labour market. Vice versa, inspired by the Dutch further education model, T Level Courses have been introduced in the UK last year to increase the number of qualified graduates for the job market or further schooling.

Image: ©Ministerie OCW / Twitter @RHDijkgraaf

On 2 and 3 November, Dutch Minister for Education, Culture and Science, Mr Robbert Dijkgraaf, will visit London to exchange best practices with UK partners. Both the Netherlands and the UK have world-class education and science systems. British higher education institutions rank amongst the most renowned and prestigious worldwide; the education ecosystem in the Netherlands is thriving with top-tier institutions and developing in a way that prepares students for working life through both further and higher education. 

The next level qualification: T Levels

Minister Dijkgraaf will visit the new South Bank Colleges campus in Clapham, where technical courses are offered which open doors to future career opportunities in a.o. healthcare, IT, design, engineering and robots. The T Level Courses, as offered by the South Bank Colleges, are inspired by the Dutch further (vocational) education model (‘MBO’, in Dutch). T Level students spend 80% of the course in their learning environment and the other 20% in a meaningful industry placement, actively preparing them for the labour market. The South Bank Colleges also works closely together with London South Bank University, giving their students the opportunity to continue their academic career when they decide not to join the labour market directly after graduation. The Netherlands is very eager to learn more about these best practices that combines different parts of the education field.

Image: ©https://www.southbankcolleges.ac.uk/ / https://www.southbankcolleges.ac.uk/

Student well-being

Preparing students to participate in society with their full potential, requires performing academically, professionally and personally. Student well-being is therefore another important subject of the Minister's visit, as many students in the Netherlands today are dealing with mental health and post-Covid-19 related challenges, such as loneliness or stress. The UK’s integral approach – focused not only on support but also on prevention – is an inspiration for the policy the Netherlands is looking to implement. The Minister will visit Queen Mary University; ranked first in a report on the best universities for social mobility (The Times). At Queen Mary University, a Russell Group member, the Minister hopes to learn from its holistic well-being guidelines, toolkit and specialized hubs for support. 

Bringing science and society closer together

The Covid-19 pandemic sparked a global discussion on (mis-)trust in science, leading to a larger focus on how to bring science and society closer together. Minister Dijkgraaf has set out plans to establish a new center for science communication. The UK’s approach – with its National Coordination Centre for Public Engagement in Bristol – is therefore of much interest to the Netherlands. A panel discussion on science communication will take place on Wednesday evening at the Royal Institution, with the Minister and many relevant British stakeholders in Public Engagement.

Image: ©https://www.southbankcolleges.ac.uk/ / https://www.southbankcolleges.ac.uk/

More information

During his visit, Minister Dijkgraaf will also visit the Department for Education, the Delegation of the European Union in the UK and the University College London, where he will meet both Dutch and UK scientists and students. 

For more information regarding the visit of the Minister, please contact: