LEARN consolidates a Learning Network to disseminate good practices widely, exchange knowledge to further develop the expertise of actors responsible for implementing and upscaling work-study programmes for permit holders in the Netherlands.
Thus, the aim of LEARN is to improve the inclusion of permit holders on the Dutch labour market.
Permit holders, persons who received international protection and obtained the right to stay and work in the Netherlands on a temporary or on a permanent basis, lag in terms of their participation on the Dutch labour market. To close these gaps and create equal opportunities, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) initiated the Programme Voor een Inclusieve Arbeidsmarkt [For an inclusive labour market] (VIA) in 2018. The programme consisted of eight pilots - explorative small-scale implementations of novel approaches to labour market inclusion - each of which focused on crucial moments during the inclusion trajectory of people with a migration background where bottlenecks arise and where an effective intervention can make a big difference. The programme, moreover, consisted of testing which interventions were effective, and as a result promising elements of these interventions were further researched.
Interim evaluations of these pilots revealed enormous potential for both the upscaling and the expansion of these interventions. However, at the same time, barriers and bottlenecks were identified concerning upscaling and the expansion of interventions. With the aim of making the step from 'knowing what works' to 'doing what works', SZW proceeded to launch The Work Agenda Voor een Inclusieve Arbeidsmarkt [For an inclusive labour market] (VIA) in December 2021.
In March 2023, Minister Van Gennip (SZW) informed the Second Chamber a to improve the participation of permit holders in the labour market. This led to the creation of a Plan of Action 'Permit Holders at Work', which utilizes concrete actions and collaborations to improve the labour market opportunities and participation of permit holders.
As part of a 'learning approach', SZW has set up a learning network, Learning and Working for Permit Holders, to disseminate good practices widely, exchange knowledge and further develop the expertise of actors responsible for implementing and upscaling work-study programmes for permit holders in the Netherlands. Work-study programmes are an integral combination of work and study that lead to some form of certification, focus on vocational education and lead to sustainable employment. The Learning Network, finally, consists of municipalities, educational institutions, employers and expertise organizations.
For this learning network, SZW applied for technical support from the European Commission's Directorate General for Structural REFORM Support (DG REFORM). Project LEARN came about after DG REFORM approved the application and selected the International Organization for Migration (IOM) as the technical support partner. Thus, the Learning Network, Learning and Working for Permit Holders, forms the basis of project LEARN.
The Learning Network covers three themes:
- Recruitment, selection and preparatory phase work-study programmes
- The study component of work-study programmes
- The work component of work-study programmes
Cross-cutting themes such as governance, coordination, finance, and inclusion ‘cut across’ all themes and are thus covered within each theme.
Through LEARN, IOM provides support to SZW through the following activities:
- IOM will further enhance the capacity of the Learning Network. This means that IOM, in coordination with SZW, DG REFORM and participants of the Learning Network, provides content for the meetings and workshops of the Learning Network.
- IOM will explore with all project partners how the Learning Network can be set up in such a way that it can be used in the long term.
- IOM will create a manual to make insights about the upscaling and sustainability of work-study programmes applicable for implementers (local and national government, educational institutions, and employers) in the Netherlands.
- IOM will formulate evidence-based policy recommendations regarding the creation of favourable conditions in the Netherlands for the setting up and scaling up of work-study programmes.
The LEARN project