Stop and go with Dutch visitors

Correction to the heading: The programme the Dutch visitors presented is called Start and Go.

Gradia Guidance and Career Services hosted a 5-day visit (5-9 Nov) of a group of guidance and SEN staff from Arnhem region in the Eastern part of the Netherlands.

This visit was a continuation of a series of benchmarking activities between Gradia and Rijn Ijssel colleges since signing the Memorandum of Understanding in 2016. Thsi time Rijn Ijssel staff brought with them representatives also from their local cooperation partners from Astrum College and Mariendal secondary school.

The theme of the visit was the role of guidance especially at transition stages and preparing immigrants for further education. The visitors also gave two workshops: spotlight on VET in the Netherlands  and International Transition Classes (ITC) – educating students with immigration background.

On the last day of a very intensive visit it was the perfect time to reflect on the themes,  outcomes and possible impact of the benchmarking visit:


  • Discipline of students (seems good)
  • Everything is clean
  • Thinking of possibilities
  • Not talking about problems but about challenges and individual goals
  • We (NL) have 4 levels in VET > Fnnish VET in one level but (learners) can end at different levels
  • Levels in the tasks ( not level of education)
  • Not time based but skills based


  • One stop guiding- very good idea
  • Guidance and career support in schools are doing it with same way ( even forms / paperwork)
  • The way counselling is organized between schools, together
  • Counselor system just for the education = separate tasks, integrated structured in all schools
  • Flexible system, outreach (over)  various (stages of) education
  • Lifelong learning
  • The relaxed attitude towards temporary drop-out “ it is ok, come back to education when you are ready”


  • Surprising was the healthy food for everyone
  • Food in school, warm lunch sometimes also breakfast for free
  • The immigrants have 3-5 years time to integrate, learn the language and prepare themselves for further education
  • Selection system
  • Remarkable that the grades is the reason to get place in VET education
  • You (FI) have VET with special needs- we (NL) don’t!

The visitors were also asked to think about the impact of the visit on their own work – what might they do differently in the short or long-term?


  • Stress less about students ( they’ll be okay) and trying to put less stress on students.
  • I want to coach more in nature, go for a walks with students.
  • Next Monday meeting : (disseminating ideas for)  inclusive education, stay in contact with Freek (Seuntiens)
  • Tell students they are needed in the labour market more.

The cooperation with continue in the spring of 2019 when three Gradia guidance counselors will visit Arnhem.

More information: Minna Ahokas (at)


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