STAP is the acronym for ‘Stimulans Arbeidsmarktpositie’ [Stimulus of the Labour Market Position]. It is a subsidy scheme for lifelong learning, development and training intending to be introduced by the Dutch Government.
The government ruling STAP is intended to replace the existing system in The Netherlands of tax-deductible training expenses, with a personal development allowance that is not any more dependent on income, but on the cost of individual training courses and programmes.
The purpose of the STAP budget is to allow anyone connected with the Dutch labour market, including job seekers to keep their skills up-to-date. By training the government foresees more people will remain permanently employable in a rapidly-changing job market.
According to the estimation, approximately 1.3 million employees are eligible for a share of the STAP budget and it is envisaged that between 100,000 and 200,000 of them will claim EUR 1,000 for a single training activity each year.
However, eligibility for STAP also depends on whether or not an applicant is receiving public finance, including student loans for training purposes. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment has admitted that it cannot predict how popular will prove, but once the annual budget has been claimed no new applications will be approved.
Anyone wishing to receive training can apply for the STAP budget online, once their application is approved, the appropriate funds are paid directly to the training provider, who must subsequently provide proof that the training has actually taken place.
Furthermore, each training provider and training activity listed in a register of approved courses, which must lead to a certificate or diploma recognised by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment and meet certain other conditions. Failure to comply with inspections by the Ministry, or suspicion of fraud, can lead to the training provider being removed from the training register.
More information is available in Dutch, on the website of UWV.