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Anti-cyclical training for the construction sector

Country of implementation
The Netherlands
General short description of the innovation
This innovation has been developed by employers and employees in the construction sector. It consists of a training program for both young employees as well as employees at risk of dismissal in the construction sector to prevent dismissal during crisis, to increase skills levels and to prepare for expected labour shortages in the future.
Target group
Total Population
Policy Field
  • education
  • wage
Type of Policy
  • social partnership
Duration of the policy
2009-2012. In 2014 social partners agreed to start a similar program, at a larger scale to prevent unemployment in construction.
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: temporary crisis measure
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
Following the crisis social partners expected that the construction sector would be hit hard by the crisis in terms of bankruptcies and dismissals. At the same time, the sector expected labour shortages in the longer run. It feared the existing traineeship structure for young would also be hit by the crisis which would aggravate this future problem because of a lack of influx of young construction workers. Therefore, the program used available training funds (?O&O-funds?) to stimulate employers to create traineeships (despite the crisis) and to allow existing workers to follow additional training to upgrade their skills. The program developed new training modules. As before, wages on training days were compensated by the funds, but more training days (40 instead of 2) were compensated provided employers would also allow for more trainees. As such, the program intended to prevent unemployment, to maintain the system of traineeships and to invest in skill levels of workers.
Nature of the innovation-short-term perspective
Short-term crisis measure
Type of innovation
  • new policy, practice or measure
New outputs
  • learning workplaces
  • others (The program offered wage support for employers by compensating more training days)
  • training schemes
Intended target group
Workers in the construction sector, especially young workers (trainees) as well as older workers at risk of dismissal because of the crisis.
Working age population
  • main source of income: paid work
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • employees (organised or individual)
  • employers (organised or individual)
  • municipal government (Referrals of young unemployed and schoolleavers)
  • private not-for-profit organisations (e.g. Third Sector organisation or NGO) (Schooling funds financed the measure)
Clarification of the role of various actors
This innovation has been agreed upon by organised employers and employees in the construction sector as a side effect of the general social pacts of social partners in 2008 and 2009. Municipalities referred youngsters that could start traineeships.
Intended output
  • learning workplaces
  • others (Wage compensation for employers)
  • training schemes
Did the innovation have any outcome related to job quantity?
According to the evaluation, the program has probably prevented unemployment and has safeguarded traineeships for young. (traineeships are a form of combining paid work and learning)
Intended and unintended outcomes
1,670 extra traineeships were realized and 5,023 employees participated in additional training (2.5% of the total number of workers). However 20% of the 5,023 participants could not finish the training, mostly because the work did not allow for it.
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
The evaluation states the social partners are positive about the outcomes, although larger numbers of participants had been expected. It considered to be a successful example of social dialogue. The evaluation makes it plausible that the program has contributed to skill levels and availability of traineeships within this sector, although in quantitative terms this impact is modest. Impact on employment is hard to assess. No data are available on employment after the training: it is possible the program has mainly postponed unemployment, given the fact that the crisis has continued to affect the construction sector after 2012 as well. Moreover, expert interviews consider this program to be not so successful, mainly because it resulted very difficult to implement and to organise co-operation between municipalities and social partners. The experience from this program has been used nevertheless to develop sectoral plans in 2013 to further stimulate work-work transitions as well as life-long learning. The evaluation study is clear on output, but not on outcome with respect to employment. Respondents in expert interviews are critical about this innovation.
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