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To ensure today’s MBO students to become the ideal workforce of tomorrow, both a higher level of ambition and an ability to achieve results is necessary. “Digitalization and roboticization of our economy plays a major role”, says Ceel Elemans, from the Banking Education sector of ING. The bank conducted extensive research into the labor market for technical MBO.

“In recent years, we have seen many innovations in education. Successful examples show that we are on the right track. Nevertheless, more intensive collaboration is necessary to allow even more talent in technology to be developed.” In ING’s research report, both the challenges and the resources (the tools) to cope with this are addressed. Moreover, the opportunities for education, business, and government are examined.



“If nothing changes, by 2020 approximately 20,000 technical MBO students per year will have insufficient training.”Cees Elemans, ING

The challenges are serious, according to ING. The labor market shortage has not been so high over the past eight years as it is now and technical MBO currently has the largest number of ‘cramped professions’. Digitization calls for more skills from the MBO educated, but new technology also creates new occupations and jobs. Flexibility and learning aptitude are needed to handle this, but there is also a quantitative task: more technicians are needed. “If nothing changes, by 2020 approximately 20,000 technical MBO students per year will have insufficient training.”


Opportunities for MBO
ING has an array of concrete tips for MBO. The most important of these is the adaptation to the “new times”. For example, contact with the business world – “a key stakeholder” – must become normal. The same applies to the connection between school and the real world. According to ING, schools should recognize that a diploma is less important than the talent of the graduate. In order to optimize these talents, more professionals should be brought into education. After all, they are better able to keep track of and convey the developments in business than those who have been in the field of education for a long time.

The business world is also of course needed. Sufficient internships, for example, but also an investment in ‘lifelong learning’. The business world needs to be seen more clearly within MBO.

ING researchers expect, in particular, flexibility from the government: “Fewer rules lead to more reform.” At the same time, MBO students should be better directed to job opportunities, for example, by paying more attention to the practical side.

Elemans: “The knowledge and skills of professionals are the driving force behind our flourishing economy. The OECD endorses the fact that the Netherlands has a strong and well-organized MBO. Good, however, is not good enough.”