Part of Amsterdam's healthcare shortage may be solved thanks to promising program
AMSTERDAM - To address the labor shortage in the care and welfare sector, training institutes in Amsterdam together with local care institutions and the City of Amsterdam have developed a unique orientation program. The aim of this free program, which normally costs €1,800, is to retrain Amsterdam lateral entrants aged 23 or older to work in the care and/or welfare sector. Lateral entrants are introduced to numerous career paths and training opportunities during the 10-week program. The trainees are matched with job openings in the sector and are then guaranteed a paid job.
Photo: Care and Wellness
10 times more applications than expected
Initially, the program's goal was to achieve 30 to 60 enrollments. Because with nearly 600 enrollees, about 10 times more applications came in than expected, the number of training programs was scaled up from 4 to 7. Due to the large number of enrollees, there is a waiting list for participation in the program despite the scaling up. The initiators of the Care & Wellness program decided to extend the program to give all applicants the opportunity to participate in the program.
600 of Amsterdam's 2,500 vacancies may be filled
Care & Wellness strives to help participants find suitable employment and keep the dropout rate as low as possible. The program gives participants additional insight into the sector, personal talents, motivation and desires. This allows the student to make a well-reasoned choice for a healthcare job that suits him/her.
Project leader Helena Schuengel gives her view of the initiative's success: "we did not expect the program to generate more than 10 times the number of applications than planned. In this way we can make a significant contribution to solving the shortages in the sector. In greater Amsterdam there are 2,500 vacancies in the healthcare sector. If all our trainees choose a job in healthcare after the orientation program, we will solve a very large part of the personnel shortage. It's up to us to make the perfect match and limit dropouts. You can still sign up, of course."
Care and Welfare approached by ministries and municipalities
Several Dutch municipalities and regional employer associations approached Zorg & Welzijn Amsterdam with the request to organize inspiration sessions for future program development in their region or city. Zorg en Welzijn presented the initiative to the Social and Economic Council (SER) last September. According to project leader Helena Schuengel, "the presentation at the SER was a great example of a regional initiative, collective employment, cooperation with multiple trainers and partnership with the City of Amsterdam and the Greater Amsterdam Regional Mobility Team."
Collaboration with healthcare partners grown from 24 to 59
In addition to the high number of registrations, the number of collaborative partners from healthcare has also increased. At the beginning 24 partners participated, now there are 59 affiliated institutions. The first partners were mainly based in Amsterdam, now institutions from different cities and regions also want to actively contribute to the learning programs.
"Together with the City of Amsterdam, we embarked on an adventure to get people interested in a job or internship in care and/or welfare. The result is amazing. We started thinking completely differently about reaching the target group. The most valuable lesson? When you want to reach specific target groups, you have to speak their language. People are often looking for their own talents; for some this is a big challenge. We offer a mirror through which students can discover what kind of job suits them, and that appeals, we want to roll this program out nationally with the right partners", Schuengel said of the success.