'Companies are looking for employees for whom it makes sense to share knowledge'

News | June 28, 2018

Like companies, schools view the declining enthusiasm for technology studies with regret. How do we get young people to study technology and become enthusiastic about a career in the Northern Netherlands? The answer to this question is the basis for the unique collaboration between the high-tech companies and the training centres. Developing human capital for a pleasant and sustainable career, which benefits companies, schools and above all students. The Northern 'human capital roadmap' is born.

Company culture

Students and teachers know according to Laura Keijzer of consultancy Berenschot, insufficient what is going on in the companies. “And schools believe that the supervision of internships within the companies leaves something to be desired. That requires a good conversation, but actually more than that. Education wants to attract enough new students to keep their technical courses well filled. And the companies are looking for suitable personnel who are in line with the corporate culture.”

21 century skills

Determining culture is according to Peet Ferwerda, project leader strategic policy making at the Friesland College so the first step. “There is a gap between what companies ask for and what we offer as education. Not so much in the field of technical knowledge, but especially in professional attitude, say 21-century skills.” According to Ferwerda, new forms of cooperation must be created between schools and companies to develop these kinds of skills. Anyone who wants to collaborate must know which profile student or employee must meet. That is why he looks at four areas: knowledge, skills, personal qualities and the basic professional attitude. “Companies are looking for employees for whom it makes sense to share knowledge, who conduct research independently and who want to continue learning. No people who say: I don't understand it, they should explain it better to me and I go home at half past four!"

case education

This requires a different organization of education, for example based on case studies. For those who like structure and want to know in advance what will happen, this way of doing an internship is nothing. But Jelmer Kloosterman and Sven Raven, both third-year mechatronics students at ROC Frisian Gate, are looking forward to a new adventure in which they are in charge of their own learning process. "Determining my own learning goals and having more freedom in what I do is much more fun and I learn more from it," Jan says enthusiastically. Sven has also experienced more freedom. ,,My job was to find errors or near-mistakes. Because I have approached experienced employees myself, I have learned a lot. More than if I had to complete a fixed program or schedule.” Jelmer says that he often introduced himself because he kept meeting new colleagues in the factory. "This immediately gives the opportunity to ask questions about what they are doing and how they do their work."

Teacher internship

Fokko van Duinen, teacher Middle Management Engineering at ROC Friese Poort proves that teachers can still learn. He was the first teacher to do an internship at Neopost Technologies† “Especially to know what is really going on in a company. I learned about risk reduction and machine safety and I was shown around the automatic packing machine by a former student. I have experienced in practice how dangers are reduced. This knowledge is valuable, because I now have a better picture of the practice. In fact, every teacher has to go on an internship for ten days every so often to refresh knowledge.”

For internship supervisor Ben Scholtanus, Operations Engineering Manager at Neopost Technologies, the 'teacher internship' is a wonderful way to better coordinate the dynamics of schools and companies. ,,With Fokko, we now have an internship supervisor who knows how things work at our company. This allows him to estimate better than before which student suits us and prepare students better. Not only on their internship, but in general on working at a company.” The more companies start working with schools in this way, the better this is, according to Scholtanus. "Because every company does different things that teachers can learn from."

In the media

Leeuwarder Courant, 29 June 2018: Tech companies and MBOs want to train better staff together

Dagblad van het Noorden, 29 June 2018: Tech companies and MBOs want to train better staff together

Heerenveensche Courant, 29 June 2018: High-tech companies and training centers sign cooperation

Friesland College website, June 28, 2018: Working together with companies and MBO in the 'high-tech' Drachten region

Drachtster Courant, 2 July 2018: The Northern 'human capital roadmap' is born

photo report by Lisa Mulder, first-year Photography student at ROC Friese Poort.