The STAP budget for further professional training and education, which is being scrapped by the Cabinet, has proven to be particularly popular among employees in the health, care and welfare sector. They formed the largest group of applicants both in 2022 and at the beginning of this year, according to figures from benefits agency UWV. The agency was responsible for implementing the much-discussed scheme.
On Wednesday it became clear that the Cabinet is planning on getting rid of the subsidy. Sources close to the Cabinet said the STAP budget will die in a round of budget cuts.
At the beginning of this year, 39,500 people applied for the training budget when it was possible. About 9,100 of them work in the care and welfare sector. In second place is the business services sector, with 5,700 applicants, followed by the trade sector.
Those who managed to secure the STAP subsidy in time could receive a maximum of 1,000 euros once per year to spend on training. However, if the money set aside for STAP was fully distributed, the applicant out of luck.
The STAP budget replaced the tax deduction for training costs, which was abolished. Certainly at the beginning there was a great deal of criticism for the scheme, because it financed courses that did not seem to be very important from a social or work standpoint, and some providers linked trips abroad to the lessons. The regulations were therefore tightened up. Those following a “regular” course at higher vocational institution or university usually do not qualify for STAP, and also they can no longer deduct the costs from their income tax.
In total, the applicants at the beginning of this year went on to use the money to take part in 6,800 different courses. According to the UWV, more than half of the applicants had at most completed an intermediate vocational education. About three quarters of recipients have a job. The budget is more often used by someone for further training in their field, rather than for retraining in another field.
Last year, the UWV received a total of 214,000 applications. Even then, healthcare was at the top of the list as a sector: almost a quarter of the applicants (23 percent) worked in this sector. Business services and trade also took second and third place during that time.
Reporting by ANP