Hanze University Groningen and ICD: learning, working and teaching together

News | July 9, 2020

Signing of collaboration with Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen

On Thursday 2 July, Henk Pijlman and Binne Visser signed an agreement for this. "The Northern Netherlands as a European example of cooperation between education and business."

The labor market is shrinking and both the healthcare and technology sectors will each require four out of ten employees. "There are none, if you consider that five thousand jobs disappear every year in the Northern Netherlands due to demographic developments," said Henk Pijlman, chairman of the Executive Board of the University of Groningen. Hanze University Groningen. “It requires creative solutions to keep our knowledge economy at a high-quality and healthy level. Collaboration with the business community is then the obvious choice.” The high-tech companies of Innovatiecluster Drachten see that too. They expect a decline in the number of applicants. According to Binne Visser, chairman of the collaborating high-tech companies, the population decline in the Northern Netherlands is underestimated. ,,Nobody notices because it is going so slowly, but the downward trend has started. In the coming years, many employees will retire and the influx of new, young people will lag behind the demand from the companies.” 

Working and teaching

The same applies to education, where gaps are created because more teachers are retiring than are joining them. How can there be sufficient recruitment of new employees and how can the influx of technical teaching staff be guaranteed? According to Visser, with the rapid technological developments, it is important that employees also start teaching in addition to their daily work. "Companies are hardly working on this yet, but I foresee that we will have a time in which employees work three days and teach two days." That sounds like music to Peta de Vries, Dean of the Institute for Engineering at Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen. “We need to move even more towards integrated education in which working, learning and teaching come together. Together or separately is really no longer an issue.” The first steps have now been taken. Training Associate Degree Mechatronics tastes like more.


Money is available in Europe for knowledge development that can give the Northern Netherlands a head start. “As industry and education, let's give this a face together. The opportunities are there with the Smart Industry Hub'', says De Vries. The major digital issues facing the region require a joint approach. Visser also feels that urgency. “As an industry, we have an important role to play in advancing the North. Moreover, with a clear profile of, for example, sensoring, imaging and huge data, we can distinguish ourselves from other regions, which helps with European visibility.”


In the coming months, the strategic collaboration between Hanze University and Innovatiecluster Drachten will be fleshed out further. Human capital is one of the most important topics with AD mechatronics as one of the opportunities for employees of the high-tech companies to develop further. In addition, the school wants to contribute research to the most important topics that play a role within high-tech companies.