Vocational Education and Training
MBO (Middelbaar Beroepsonderwijs) is the Dutch abbreviation for secondary Vocational Education and Training (VET) in the Netherlands. VET is the main supplier to the labour market and is often regarded as the ‘foundation of the economy’ and the ‘backbone of society’. Approximately 40% of the Dutch working population has obtained a vocational qualification.
With the implementation of the WEB, the act on Vocational Education and Training, the two learning pathways in VET (work-based and school-based) were put in the same qualification framework. The school-based option with full-time education is called the BOL system and the work-based pathway, offering a combination of work and study, is called BBL. Both learning pathways offer programmes on four different levels. In both the school-based and the work-based pathways and on every training level, all students need to spend part of their time on work placements in recognized learning companies in order to obtain a diploma.
There is a generic classification of the MBO levels to the European Qualification Framework. Generally, the four VET levels correspond with the first four levels of the EQF. It is, however, possible to come to a different classification for a specific qualification, if there is clear evidence for doing so. In that case certain Dutch level 4 qualifications have the possibility to become referenced to the EQF 5 level. The level 4 qualifications offer access to follow up studies at the universities of applied sciences for an associate degree or a bachelor programme.
- level 1 entry level
- level 2 basic vocational training
- level 3 full professional training
- level 4 middle-management and specialist training