More than half of those who received financial assistance from the UWV to train as driving instructors in recent years did not complete the training. This is according to figures from the UWV, which VerkeersPro.nl requested. Of the 560 people who started, 293 did not complete their training. On average, that training cost 5,000 euros per candidate.
Between 2008 and 2012, the UWV financially supported 560 people in their training to become driving instructors. These were people on unemployment or sickness benefits who were taking a course that had a job guarantee attached to it. On average, that training cost 5,000 euros per candidate. Those costs were reimbursed by the UWV if they fit into a work coach’s prepared work plan for a candidate.
More than half of aspiring driving instructors (293 people) did not complete their training. The reasons for quitting early were quite diverse, according to the UWV. Some dropped out because they found other jobs, others because of illness or other personal circumstances. In addition, there was part for whom the training was disappointing or who failed the exam. Of the 560 people who were subsidized for the training, 15 started self-employment during or immediately after the training. The rest (252 people) found permanent or temporary jobs in the driving school industry or went to work through an employment agency.
Chairman Arnold Beumer of the LBVI (National Interest Association for Traffic Training Institutes) does not believe the UWV’s figures when it comes to number of trainees are correct. Many more people would have been reimbursed for training as driving instructors. “This is really a joke. I think that number is at least five times higher.” Compact Training alone, which went bankrupt two years ago, trained more people than the total number reported by UWV, according to Beumer. Bovag also questions the figure of 560, although the trade association also does not know exactly how many instructors were trained by Compact with public money. “We don’t have hard figures, but it seems to us to be on the low side,” said spokesman Paul de Waal. Bovag estimates that it is not 560 but 2,000 to 2,500 people. Faced with the industry’s estimates, the UWV stands by the aforementioned 560.
In addition to WW and ZW workers, people have been retrained as driving instructors with the support of municipalities. Those figures are not tracked nationwide. Beumer estimates that that flow is a lot smaller than from the UWV. At most a few hundred, he suspects. It is also impossible to tell from the numbers of people who started from unemployment with their own amount from the start-up scheme how many driving school owners are involved. Last year, more than 10,000 started their own businesses from that scheme, but the UWV does not keep track of the types of businesses.
Normally, driving instructor training is completed within a year. Although the UWV has stopped co-paying for training for driving instructors since 2012, it is possible that currently people on benefits are still training. These, according to the UWV, are courses that were paid for before that time, but where people could not get in earlier. An example of such a company is MobiDeta, which was recently featured extensively on Tros Opgelicht. Course participants, including people trained with UWV money, complained in the broadcast that little came of the promised training with job guarantees in practice. For the UWV, there is no evidence of fraud at MobiDeta. One complaint has been received at UWV about the company, which is not a reason to launch a fraud investigation. Companies in danger of failing to meet their obligations are being watched, however. “With such a company we make firm agreements,” said UWV spokesman Wessel Agterhof. “We point out that the company does need to get the services back in order, otherwise we will take away customers.” According to him, this is not happening quickly because the UWV wants to prevent it from turning into bankruptcy. The basic premise is that in the event of bankruptcy, students receiving training with UWV funds should not suffer. “If a company goes bankrupt, the cost is for the UWV.”
That more than sixty vacancies for driving instructor including training are still being offered on the Werk.nl website of UWV’s WERKbedrijf division, the spokesman also finds remarkable. “It’s strange that job guarantees are still being offered.” He also called it an industry task to figure out how to fill those jobs. Since 2012, the UWV no longer subsidizes retraining for driving instructors for people on unemployment or sickness benefits, but it still subsidizes those with disabilities sparingly.
The Bovag does not think the whole discussion about numbers of people trained with public money is the most important thing. “That has been. We are concerned about the sharp increase in driving schools that have not had much of a grasp of entrepreneurship. That’s bad for the industry.” To improve the image of the driving school industry, the Bovag is advocating stricter requirements for independent driving school owners. The industry association also sees the establishment of the Bovag Guarantee Fund for driving schools as of January 1, 2010 as an important step to repair the image damage incurred in recent years. Recently, SP MP Farshad Bashir asked questions of Infrastructure and Environment Minister Schultz van Haegen about the sharp growth in the number of driving schools. In particular, he wants to know if that growth was caused by the UWV’s policy of converting people on unemployment benefits to become driving instructors. The minister promised to come up with answers by May 7. Source: Verkeerspro.nl Also read: SP calls minister to account over UWV subsidies