The Dutch VET system

Dutch VET (mbo, secondary vocational education) has two learning tracks: a school-based track (BOL) and a work-based track (BBL). In the school-based track students have one or more periods of work placement during the course, ranging from a minimum of 20% to a maximum of 60% of course time.

Students in BBL (work-based track) work four days per week in a work placement and follow one day of theoretical education per week. Students on BBL courses are often older than those on the school-based pathway and have an average age of 25 years.

VET delivers education and training at four levels with programmes ranging from six months to four years.

  • VET level 1: training for simple practical work and for entry to the labour market as an assistant worker. There are no formal requirements for entry to this level. The level 1 diploma also gives admission to VET level 2. Programmes last six months to one year.
  • VET level 2: basic vocational training to carry out practical work. The level 2 diploma is an entry qualification for the labour market and also gives admission to VET level 3. Programmes last 2–3 years.
  • VET level 3: training to become an independent practitioner able to work independently across arange of activities related to the occupational area. The level 3 diploma gives admission to VET level 4. It is also an entry qualification for the labour market. Programmes last 2–3 years.
  • VET level 4: middle-management and specialist training able to execute work independently, as ageneralist or specialist in an occupational area. The diploma gives access to higher professional education. It is also an entry qualification to the labour market. Programmes last 3 years. A limited amount of qualifications last 4 years.