Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion


The European Alliance for Apprenticeships is a multi-stakeholder initiative steered by the European Commission. The originator of the pledge is solely responsible for implementing the actions outlined in the pledge.

Author:FNV – Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (Head Office, Utrecht)
Start Year:2018

Isabel Coenen, Policy Advisor, Isabel.coenen@fnv.nl

Types of organisation:Social partners


The FNV recognises the value and benefits of apprenticeships for (young) workers and unemployed workers. FNV will promote high quality apprenticeships and encourages its affiliates and officers to negotiate good quality opportunities for young people and workers.

The FNV fully supports the objectives of the European Alliance for Apprenticeship and will work towards more quality, accessible and fair apprenticeships in the Netherlands and Europe. The FNV will also support the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) actions to improve work-based learning of VET students.

In line with the objectives of the European Alliance for Apprenticeship and the ETUC quality framework for apprenticeships the FNV will:

·         Promote the European Alliance for Apprenticeship and raise awareness among policy makers, companies, VET providers and also among the VET teachers and trainers about the importance of work-based learning.

·         Take actions to improve quality provision of apprenticeships which should lead to employment and to further education and training.

·         Improve working conditions during an apprenticeship for apprentices, teachers and trainers to achieve optimal quality of training in the workplaces.

·         Ensure fair pay and social rights in apprenticeship.

·         Contribute to changing mind-sets towards apprenticeships by promoting the benefits of apprenticeship-learning and work based learning.


The FNV will also enhance and initiate further dialogue in the Netherlands with employers, ministries, VET schools  and others stakeholders on the above mentioned objectives and in particular:

·         To increase the number of apprenticeship for students, workers, refugees, migrants and vulnerable groups on the labour market.

·         Strengthen the quality of apprenticeship.

·         Improve pedagogical knowledge of trainers in the workplaces.

Key activities

A strength of the Dutch VET system is the strong involvement of social partners and trade unions. Social partners are well-integrated into the Dutch system contributing to policy formulation as well as delivery. This system of close cooperation between educational institutes and social partners contributed to the relatively low youth unemployment during the initial years of the economic crisis.

·         Involvement in the SBB (Stichting Samenwerking Beroepsonderwijs Bedrijfsleven)


The Dutch trade unions play a role in improving the quality of school based and work based learning by our involvement in the SBB, the foundation for cooperation on VET and the labour market. In the SBB trade unions, employers and VET colleges work together to improve the connection between education and the labour market.

The legal tasks of SBB are the following:

·         Create qualifications

They are based on competences which are the sum of knowledge, skills and attitude, needed for the job, in society of further study. They are used as basis to develop study programs but can also be applied to the process of accreditation of prior learning, job seeking and examination

·         Work placement

The Netherlands legislation stipulates that companies that train and supervise participants have to obtain a so-called accreditation from the SBB. This means that these companies offer a good and safe working and learning environment and the correct supervision. Each student has a workplace trainer providing guidance within the workplace. The SBB employ a significant number of pedagogical advisers, for training and give support to companies.

·         Research and labour market information

The SBB provide research and information on the labour market, work placement and efficiency of VET-programmes.

·         Match between VET-programmes and the labour market

The SBB make (sectoral) agreements about the match between VET-programmes and the labour market. Sectoral coordination between VET and the labour market takes place within eight sector chambers under the roof of the SBB.

·         Collective labour agreements

The FNV concludes collective sectoral labour agreements about:

- Fair pay and good working conditions for apprenticeships (students and workers)

- Support for companies to create workplaces for apprenticeships and workers

- Support for the competence development of the workplace trainers

This extra support is paid by the sectoral training funds.

·         Training funds


In a lot of sectors, training funds have been created jointly by the trade unions and employers and the FNV is a board member in most of the training funds The sectoral levy and the conditions are part of a collective agreement between employers and trade unions (FNV). They offer:

- Training possibilities to employees within the companies of the sector

- Support VET by supporting employers for creating apprenticeships for students and workers

- training and guidance for workplace trainers

·         Visits to training institutions

The FNV organises visits to VET training institutions in the Netherlands and in this way presents the work of the union and talk with the students about the quality of the guidance from the schools and the learning company.

Short company / organisation description:

The FNV is the largest confederation of trade unions in the Netherlands with 1 million members.

The FNV is a union for all workers in all sectors of the economy. The FNV is also the union for jobseekers, pensioners, self-employed and people on welfare benefits. The FNV is both a confederation and a union: members can directly join the FNV, and unions themselves can join the FNV.

Strong sectors are the foundation of the FNV. The FNV concludes more than 800 collective labour agreements (cla) for more than 5,1 million employees, for single companies and entire industry.

In the Netherlands 8 out of 10 employed workers work under a collective labour agreement. 

Area of action: Supply
Area of action: Quality

The AOb - Algemene Onderwijsbond  – General Union of Educational Personnel

The SBB - Cooperation Organisation for Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market (SBB).

Employers organisations on sectoral and national level

VET institutions

Minister of Education

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