Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes
MAASTRICHT. A platform – Limburg Magnet! - that brings businesses in Limburg and students in contact with each other, and the UM project KnowledgeEngineering@Work that links local IT businesses to knowledge engineering students. Two initiatives that aim to recruit foreign graduates for the Dutch labour market. Last Friday, during a regional meeting of Make it in the Netherlands in the Tapijn barracks, they were given an opportunity to present themselves.
Make it in the Netherlands is an action plan by education minister Bussemaker that was launched two years ago. The minister wants more foreign students to stay in the Netherlands after their graduation. Dutch language courses, contact with potential employers, providing good information and preferably one desk for all municipal affairs, could help. The minister feels that foreign graduates are an asset to Dutch society. They strengthen the international knowledge economy. According to Bussemaker, studies show that approximately 70 per cent of all foreign graduates would like to stay in the Netherlands, but a mere 27 per cent actually does so. Her action plan is meant to bring those numbers up.
Last Friday, Christoph Meng, a researcher working for Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA), presented recent figures. Of the Maastricht master’s students who lived abroad at the age of sixteen and who graduated in 2011/2012, 80 per cent worked abroad eighteen months later. A mere 8 per cent had a job in the province of Limburg, the rest elsewhere in the Netherlands. “If you look at other universities, you will see that 61 per cent of the graduates from 2011/2012, has found a job abroad. The others - 39 per cent – work in the Netherlands,” says Meng. Can he clarify this difference? “A much larger group of the Maastricht students – 38 per cent – live abroad during the last year of their studies. Elsewhere, the number is 20 per cent. At the UM, this concerns the large group of German students who continue to live at home in Germany while studying here.”