Bridging the gap between education and work

Bridging the gap between education and work

This report contains the first results of the BRIDGE project, which is being implemented in South Rotterdam with the financial support of the European Commission, in the period between the end of 2016 and the end of 2019. It consists of twenty educational interventions aimed at improving both the educational results of children from South Rotterdam and the alignment with the labour market. Children do not always complete their vocational education and too few opt for specialisations that offer good labour market prospects. By improving this situation, more young people in South Rotterdam should be able to find a job and be sustainably integrated in the employment process.

South Rotterdam lags behind North Rotterdam, other large Dutch cities and the Netherlands as a whole in socioeconomic terms. This is reflected, for example, in the fact that unemployment in South Rotterdam is considerably higher and labour participation lower than elsewhere. Moreover, there are many other problems, such as an educational disadvantage, poor housing quality and crime. Since all these problems are correlated, there is no easy solution. This is why the National Urgency Programme South Rotterdam (NPRZ) was developed. The programme focuses on three areas: education, housing and employment. BRIDGE is linked to the educational component of the NPRZ and has a duration of three years. After this period, the NPRZ intends to continue with the educational measures. Experiences from BRIDGE could result in adjustments to the educational interventions that are currently applied.

The following aspects are addressed in the first monitoring and evaluation report:

  1. The nature and implementation of the educational interventions. This also includes what we know about the extent to which the interventions are applied and their reach among schools and pupils. Furthermore, we discuss the intervention logic: how does the implementation, in theory, link to the effects what are the necessary preconditions for achieving an effect? And what does the literature say about the effectiveness of similar interventions elsewhere?
  2. The development of educational results. We have some doubt as to whether the quality of available quantitative data related to the application of the interventions is sufficient to measure an effect of these interventions on the educational results. We are still examining this matter. This report focuses on the development of the educational results over time. Is the percentage of young people in pre-vocational secondary education and vocational secondary education opting for technology, port-related or healthcare specialisations increasing compared with North Rotterdam, other large cities and the Netherlands as a whole? And if so, does the timing of this increase correspond to the introduction of BRIDGE or to previously increased participation in similar interventions in the context of the NPRZ programme?
  3. The development of labour market results. To what extent does obtaining a secondary vocational education qualification lead to more opportunities in the labour market? To what extent does a higher secondary vocational education qualification lead to more opportunities? And do young people who specialise in technology, port-related courses or healthcare perform better than young people with a qualification in a different field? For the analyses, a benchmark is used that also takes into account the sustainability of the employment. Moreover, we examine whether the effect of the educational level and specialisation in South Rotterdam is as large as in North Rotterdam and other large cities.

This report is made possible by a subsidy from the Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) programme of the European Commission.


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Bridging the gap between education and work


Publication date: 
July 2018
European Commission
In collaboration with: 


Education and training



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