From hospitality to care? Retraining on a large scale does not work now

While more and more people are losing their jobs due to the corona crisis, there is a large shortage of people in some sectors. But large-scale retraining of people from the hospitality industry to care or ICT is not succeeding, employers, experts and trade associations in ‘deficit sectors’ say.

The way we think about retraining should really be different, they say: there is too much attention for resumes, and too little for the skills that people already have.

Problem magnified

“The problem has existed for a long time”, says Jannes van der Velde, spokesman of the general employers’ association (AWVN). “Now corona is coming and the problem is getting bigger.”

One example: “Suppose a self-propelled car comes. What does that mean for the labour market for drivers and what can those drivers do? I’m sure you can think about that now.”

Truck drivers, for example, can often work independently and are also technically skilled, says Van der Velde: “These are competencies that are also important in the energy transition, in the installation sector. Then it’s good to think: what else does this person need to learn? And not to say, go for a very long training, while someone already has a lot of the skills.”

Socially competent, precise and empathic

This is already happening on a small scale, retraining on the basis of skills. House of Skills, an organisation that is thinking about new ways of helping people from work to work, and the Stichting Bedrijfsfonds Apotheken have set up a side-entry route for pharmacist’s assistants.

Rachelle Smits starts her training from September 1st. “I worked as a barista and in December my contract was not renewed,” she says. “Through the UWV I ended up in this retraining program.” She took a test, and it showed that she was socially skilled, precise, and empathic. “You should be able to do that as a pharmacist’s assistant.”

The skills she does not yet have she will learn in the coming months, but she already has an employer and a salary. “I earn more as an apprentice than I earned in the hospitality industry.”

To be selected for this he first had to do an assessment. “This showed that I think in a structured way, am precise and have an eye for detail. That’s what you need in IT, and that’s why I can start this process” Richard also already has the guarantee that he can start working for an employer, provided he completes the training.

‘This should be normal’

The industry association of IT, NLdigital, welcomes such initiatives, but believes that there should also be a national structure with which people can be retrained on a large scale on the basis of skills.

“I speak to employers who are looking for personnel, who do not know that these initiatives exist”, says Jelmer Schreuder, policy officer education and labour market at NLdigital. “This should become normal: select on the basis of skills and supplement that with extra training.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Social Affairs states that negotiations are currently underway on the budget for 2021, and on the economic emergency measures. These recommendations are being taken into account by the Cabinet. “We too see that the economy is changing, that the labour market is changing, and that people need help to adapt”, says a spokesperson.