Applications open on Friday morning for a new round of government subsidies for work related training programmes, known as the Stap budget.
The scheme was suspended in December last year after widespread reports that the project, entitling applicants to €1000-worth of job related training, was funding pointless courses.
Follow the Money reported last year, for example, that one course receiving government money was a two day ‘discover yourself’ trip to Amsterdam, Antwerp and Paris. Other courses of more doubtful value included training to become a ‘walking coach’, a drone pilot or an orthomolecular therapist, which is widely regarded as quackery.
Some 3,500 different courses offered by 200 providers were reassessed ahead of the new start date, and the government pledged to take more steps to end potential abuse.
The responsible minister, Karien van Gennip has also said she will research whether the payments in the future can be concentrated on areas where there is a shortfall in staff, such as as healthcare, education, IT and technical studies.
At least 200,000 people have already benefited from a Stap training course and the budget for this year has been increases from €160 million to €200 million.
The Volkskrant reported on Friday that half the applicants had been to a trade school, one in five was over the age of 50 and almost half were either a freelancer, unemployed or on a short-term contract – all people who had not been able to benefit from the tax deduction on training which the Stap scheme replaced.