Youth, Work and Hope

Moving towards a successful future

Youth, Work and Hope is a project of De Nieuwe Poort and supported by the Goldschmeding Foundation. It aims to provide a platform for investigating whether and how young people can better connect with the job market and, consequently, to society as a whole. Despite the economic growth, there are still over 150.000 unemployed young people between the ages of 15 and 25. Also in the age group 25-35 there are over 150.000 people unemployed. Dutch people with a migration background and low-educated women face growing disadvantages in the job-market.

The project ‘Youth, work and hope’ examines whether and how it is possible to help more low-skilled young people find employment. Within this project, stakeholders are invited to join forces, work together and determine how to connect these young people with opportunities that help them build their own future.


Giving attention and offering opportunities helps young people to dream

Diner Pensants

Youth unemployment is a problem which does not have a clear-cut cause and therefore also no simple solution. To deal with this complex issue multiple ‘Diner Pensants’ have been organized in 2017 with the ‘think-group’ of the platmorm Youth, Work and Hope. During the Diners Pensants, a group of professionals came together to approach the problem from different angles and determine suitable actions, and which hypotheses should first be clarified through scientific research. Joining the ‘Diner Pensants’ were for example the former Minister of Social Affairs, teachers, a young government official, a research journalist, and the directors of the most profound initiatives and foundations centered around young people.



As a result of the Diners Pensants, five themes are formulated that form the basis for five alliances of various foundations and experts that are involved on a daily basis with disadvantaged youth. This group ranges from ‘Stichting Lezen en Schrijven’ to ‘Giving Back’ and from ‘Jinc’ to ‘Netherlands Cares’. Together they form the ‘do-group’ of the platform Youth, Work and Hope that will set up projects and tackle problems together. By connecting existing initiatives in a joint platform, we are stronger and hope to make a lasting difference for young people.  The alliances are centered around the topics ‘Attention’, ‘Opportunities’, ‘Connections’, ‘Skills’ and ‘Dreams’.



In addition to the alliances, an important pillar within the platform is researcher Fabian Dekker. As a labour sociologist, he studies what approaches work to battle youth unemployment. The impact of projects is not or hardly evaluated. What is the success of a project? Which initiatives work? Which not? By working closely together with the various alliances, Dekker is developing a tool or model to evaluate how effective projects have been.


The economist: How to make a good teacher?


Education offers an excellent opportunity to give students the individualized attention they may be missing. But do teachers have enough time and skills to recognize “difficult” students, give them a boost and provide the necessary guidance? Besides teachers, who else can help to strengthen awareness? Parents, sports coaches, or others within the community?


It is a well-known problem that young people often consider themselves lucky to be offered any internship, no matter how poorly paid. Permanent contracts are a rarity. How have we come to this point? What kinds of systems are necessary and which measures should be undertaken to provide young people with needed stability?


The topic connections is central to all other topics. For example, connections is about connecting dreams with opportunities or guidance with skills. To arrange an internship or gain work experience, you need a network. A relevant network often grows from connections made during an internship. It is therefore important that existing networks are available and accessible to young people.


Social skills are of growing importance in an era of increasing automatisation and digitalisation. The challenge lies primarily in the transfer and development of social skills in order to participate fully in today’s job market, as well as future employment situations.


To be encouraged to think about the future by asking the question “what do you really want?”, is a crucial first step towards a job. Actively thinking about this question is also an exercise in increasing young people’s self-esteem.


On 4 October 2017 the symposium ‘Alle jongeren aan boord!’ took place. Speakers were, among others, former ministers Jet Bussemaker and Marja van Bijsterveldt, and researcher Fabian Dekker. Politician Jesse Klaver, prominent business people, foundations and students of high schools and vocational schools also attended the event. Together they discussed the most important problems around youth unemployment as input for the alliances.

The alliance ‘Connections’ organised a meeting to recruit volunteers on 11 October 2017. In cooperation with Yacht, young professionals were recruited to sign up as buddy for young people who could use a helping hand. The importance of volunteering and its effect on both parties were also discussed.


Fabian Dekker at the symposium ‘Alle jongeren aan boord!’


Carmen Snijders Program director at De Nieuwe Poort and program manager of the Platform Youth, Work and Hope