"Robotization not a threat, but an opportunity for work"

News | 21 May 2015

High Tech Discovery Route in Drachten

"Robotization not a threat, but an opportunity for work"

DRACHTEN - Three of the twelve high-quality technical companies of the Innovatiecluster Drachten will give a look behind the scenes for young and old on Saturday 6 June. With a special discovery route, anyone with an interest in technology can experience for themselves why working in the high-tech industry is fun and challenging. The discovery route starts at BD Kiestra (medical equipment) and leads past Variass (security, water technology and medical equipment) and WhisperPower (electrical systems for vessels, vehicles, houses and industry). This 'High Tech Discovery Route' is part of the second edition of the national Dutch Technology Week.


Variass is one of the twelve high-tech companies in Drachten and has specialized for more than 25 years in high-quality technical solutions for defence, the medical world, water technology and the technical industry. The Dutch Technology Week is a great opportunity for Henk Smid, director/owner of Variass, to show technology in all its glory. “Together with BD Kiestra and Whisper Power, we have devised a discovery route along the most beautiful places in our companies. On this day, visitors come face to face with very high-quality technology. We really let our kitchen take a look, this is a unique opportunity.” Smid explains that visitors can simply walk through the production hall during the Discovery Route. “We show our company in a nutshell, from product development to production.

nice job

The three Drachtster companies use the national Dutch Technology Week to let young people experience with their parents how fun and challenging a job in technology is. Smid: ,,We support the youth in their decision for a training or profession. It is simply difficult for them to assess what it is like to work in a technical company. Not only do we give an insight into how a product is made, we also tell you what we expect from our employees and hope to provide insight into how beautiful our profession is and that you can use your creativity in it."

Extra work

Smid says that it is difficult to get well-trained people. “If technical training does not match the market demand, it becomes even more difficult to get the right people. That is why we work together with education. Young people who come from Drachten and the surrounding area should be able to study in the North and then have the opportunity to continue working here. We have wonderful companies in the North.” The entrepreneur also sees it as a challenge to simplify products, so that people with a lower education and product knowledge can also be used. “Robotization is therefore not a threat to the low-skilled, it is an opportunity for extra work. Thanks to robotisation, I can make products at the right cost price with a constant quality, which means that we bring in extra work that is also suitable for lower technical personnel. That's why we desperately need people who can think with their hands and work with their heads."