Low threshold

The LSVb has issued an action plan calling on all the higher education institutions to set up a low-threshold hotline for work placement discrimination and to actively inform their students of its existence.They also need to give more guidance on work placement discrimination and state clearly what actions they will take if a work placement company is guilty of it.

The LSVb refers to The State of Education, which was published yesterday by the Inspectorate of Education. A separate paragraph is devoted to it in the chapter on secondary vocational education. For instance, students with a migration background have to write more application letters and have to spend more time looking for a work placement. The Inspectorate is also concerned about the fact that very few secondary vocational education students report work placement discrimination even though it is clearly a problem.

According to the LSVb, work placement discrimination occurs in higher education as well, but the problem seems to be little known among the 1,500-plus higher education students interviewed by the Inspectorate of Education. In response to the statement “some students sometimes experience discrimination when looking for a work placement” 11 percent said they agreed and 23 percent disagreed. The rest were non-committal or “didn’t know”.

Research-oriented higher education students

A survey by the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP) in 2020 showed – surprisingly – that researchoriented higher education students in particular feel discriminated against when looking for a work placement. This was the response of 23 percent of them, as compared with 8 percent of secondary vocational education students and 7 percent of higher professional education students.

The SCP researcher added the proviso at that time that only 88 university work placement students had taken part in the survey. “If a few of them experience discrimination, you are likely to get high percentages.”

She also pointed out that a work placement in secondary vocational education and higher professional education is generally mandatory, so more fixed work placement positions are offered. For researchoriented higher education students, applying for a work placement is more like a normal application procedure and the chance of discrimination is greater.