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Circular Economy

What does vocational education (MBO) do?

Vocational education (MBO) has a large task in educating the professionals and entrepreneurs of the future in the ways of the circular economy. DuurzaamDoor, a government initiative about sustainable knowledge, writes the following:

“The professionals of tomorrow will work with new techniques and business models combined with authentic craftsmanship. Vocational education is increasingly focusing on educating these craftsmen of the future, but questions from businesses and the courses on offer remain few. Matches between business and education mostly happen ad hoc.” (source: DuurzaamDoor, translated by author)

Research by DuurzaamDoor shows that attention for sustainable education is growing in the technical- and construction courses. In most other disciplines, this attention is absent or less. In comparison to primary and secondary education, not much lesson materials are available (those that are available can be found on the website duurzaammbo.nl). Some projects have been developed (for instance, by Plan Nederland) but these are small scale and few (source: DuurzaamDoor).

The MBO Council (MBO Raad) reports on their website that attention is being paid to sustainability. For instance, the MBO Council signed the covenant for Responsible Pr0curement in 2009. Since August 1st, 2015, institutions for vocational education also have the option of including a minor in sustainability in their courses. Moreover, sustainability is included in a number of qualification dossiers for the MBO (source: MBO Council).

Active networks and organisations

Organistions active in this field are:

  • MBO voor Morgen (MBO for Tomorrow) is an initiative of Leren voor Morgen, Katapult, Het Groene Brein, Duurzaam MBO and Groene Groei. These organisations are working together to boost sustainability in MBO. They also organise an annual national conference on sustainability in the MBO and various other national meetings.
  • With Circular Skills, Leren voor Morgen (Learning for Tomorrow) also has a specific programme to identify, develop and anchor circular skills in vocational education.
  • Duurzaam MBO (Sustainable MBO): Sustainable MBO aims to structurally integrate sustainable development into the educational system and its organisations, from a standpoint of sharing and developing knowledge and offering attractive career options for young people. DMBO works on making vocational education more sustainable in the sectors technology, green, care/welfare and economics/trade;
  • Het Groene Brein ROOTS: In Het Groene Brein ROOTS, vocational education and businesses work together on the professionals of tomorrow for a new sustainable economy. Het Groene Brein ROOTS is a collaboration between DuurzaamDoor en Het Groene Brein. The ROOTS network consists of institutions for vocatial education, working together with leaders in business in the field of the new economy;
  • GroenGelinkt offers links to other lesson materials for MBO schools;
  • IkCirculeer offers choice profiles for sustainable professions.
  • Practoraten want to make an active contribution to the innovative of the MBO sector and, to this end, practice-based research is carried out within the practises to make well-founded choices, to reflect, to learn, and to keep ears and eyes open.
  • Spark the Movement offers reflection and inspiration for schools in Friesland that want to get started with the circular economy.

More information