Together they will be developing methods and tools to provide a valuable addition to the instruments already in place, as well as offering an alternative to the tools that are currently not leading to the desired results. The new insights and knowledge gained will also be introduced and shared.
The questions that need answering are by no means easy. To start, how can the supply of jobs be matched to the supply of workers? How can you reach out to children who, based on traditional and somewhat outdated perspectives, choose a course of study for a profession that in fact no longer exists? How can you ensure that those children shift their focus and pursue the jobs of the future? And how can you engage with and convince not only the pupils, but also their parents? Moreover, how do you then inspire the whole chain of mentors, teachers, school principals, businesses and municipal authorities to achieve this objective?
These are complicated and difficult questions and this is a serious challenge. However, what has become apparent from those first meetings is that this is a challenge in which every participant of the UIA project BRIDGE is able to contribute with knowledge and hence answers, as well as a genuine willingness to make a concerted effort to make headway towards the objective. This will, of course, be done in typical Rotterdam fashion, i.e. rolling up your sleeves and simply getting on with it. Or, to put it more bluntly, making it happen!
Fortunately, the BRIDGE partners have been strengthened by recent positive developments. According to the latest figures, primary school children in Rotterdam South are doing increasingly well at school. This can be seen from higher CITO test scores, the standard accepted test in the Netherland to grade the level of primary school children. These figures also show that the scores achieved by the pupils in Rotterdam South are rising more quickly than those of the pupils on the north side of Rotterdam, and even more quickly than the national average. However, the full picture shows that the scores in Rotterdam South are still lower than the city and national averages. Nevertheless, the children in Rotterdam South have clearly started to close the gap and this provides the best motivation possible for the BRIDGE partners.
Another promising development is that employers are becoming increasingly aware of the career start guarantee. Now the work in BRIDGE is advancing more employers are approached to join the career starting guarantees scheme. If pupils choose to work in areas such as technology, care or food, there will be a job in the pipeline for them at the end of their course of study. Guaranteed.
Preparations are currently underway for a large kick-off meeting to be held in June, where all of the BRIDGE partners will convene, share knowledge and together launch BRIDGE officially. Still, in light of the current dynamism shown for the project, most of those invited will already have made a start by the time the kick-off arrives. New job guidance interventions are discussed with the stakeholders and prepared. Parallel the detailed monitoring set up is developed in close cooperation with the people implementing the intervention. This will ensure that at the start of the school year in September the new BRIDGE related activities can be rolled out full swing.