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The most valuable of all capital is to invest in young people. That is the message within the project.

The Netherlands has gained admiration from the European Commission (EC) for her good practises and very good results over the last decade. The more so if you state the Dutch results against the small economic growth of the Netherlands in compared with other Member States in the European Union (EU). It’s clear that the Dutch are leading the pack in the EU regarding results in terms of percentage lowest people dependent on benefits. And that’s even now while the economic depression is punching the EU and The Netherlands right in the face. The unemployment rate in The Netherlands is currently 5.8%. For example, this was 4,4% in April 2009, but is still very low. In the United Kingdom (UK), Italy, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Romania, Belgium and Croatia the rates are already up to 7,7%, 11,2%, 7,7%, 14,6%, 26,1%, 6,9%, 7,5% and 21,1%. The Youth unemployment rates (Eurostat) in The Netherlands, U.K., Italy, Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Spain, Romania and Croatia are respectively 7,6%, 20,2%, 37,1%, 8,6%, 19,7%, 29,7%, 56,5%, 23 % and 46,10%. To put it more precisely, the problems of economic growth are viewed from the perspective of what these nations can or cannot do to develop the productive capacities of their young people.

Youth unemployment is an enormous challange that needs to be tackled in a concerted and realistic way. We need initiatives that have the potential to go to scale. The partnership 'Way to Learn to work' is such an initiative. We will do this by exploring and comparing the used local & national educational VET- programs (used by the core partners & silent partners) focused on (long term) unemployed young adults and the possibilities to adapt them to a Work first (e.g. Werkcenter Model but also programmes which access to school-based New Apprenticeships) approach in the country of the partners. It's a fact that young people excluded from the labour force for long periods are deprived of on-the-job learning leaving them with a skills deficit that they will never able to catch up. In our experience VET-training is essential to fill the gap between the need of employers and the lack of competences of a lot of unemployed young adults. To strengthen the employment policies in the participating countries we are going to compare the different use of (short term) VET-training within the reintegration/welfare to work programs for young adults.

The (Dutch) Work First example ‘Werkcenter Model’ and her 1-2-3 methodology, has proven that short term (VET-) training is essential in matching young people to the regular labour market. Their experiences will be the starting point of the work between the partners. Of course, culture and systems differ. This big and strong partnership (14 core partners and 5 silent partners) will create new ideas for labour market politics and VET-instruments in the participating partner countries The Netherlands, U.K. (Scotland), Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Romania, Croatia, Spain and Italy. With this partnership we will always keep in mind that:'To be succesfull at all, we have to ensure that the new initiatives/programmes will be relatively easy to implement'.

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28 - 29 May 2015 - Meeting in Netherlands

August 2014 - Interim Highlights Way 2 Learn 2 Work

9th - 10th April 2015 - Meeting in Belgium

For the project W2L2W (Way to Learn to Work) 36 people from nine European countries were guest in...


The Way to Learn to Work project is funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.