In the studio with Anne-Marie Fokkens. Photo: Dutch Technology Week
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On Monday, May 31, 2021, the time had finally come. The tenth edition of the Dutch Technology Week kicked off. After many months of preparation, an interesting mix of online and in-person events was created. To safeguard the future of technology, this year’s edition will again focus on promoting this topic. The connection between education and business is paramount, as was clearly evident in the first three online events: DTW Kick Off – Students on Stage, The Importance of Promoting Technology, and Business: the Importance of Collaboration with Education.

Online stage

The kick-off took place on Monday morning at nine o’clock. After a short login procedure, participants entered an online environment where a brief explanation was given about the various options within the Online Podium.

Participants could not only attend events but also actively take part by asking questions or going to the network square after an event. Here they could continue talking with the speakers or their colleagues. There was also an opportunity to ask other participants questions or invite them for one-on-one conversations. All this was accompanied by the unique image of Het Klokgebouw in Eindhoven, formerly the physical location of the DTW.

Kick-off – Students on Stage

During the Kick-off – Students on Stage, the students of Summa College, Fontys Hogescholen and the Eindhoven University of Technology were the central focus. They were given the opportunity to tell their story and talk about what attracts them to technology. Frits van Hout, who has been the figurehead of the DTW from the very beginning, also had his say.

Anne-Marie Fokkens, the presenter, moderated the program and interviewed several students live in the studio. Her co-host was Thom van Os, a student at Fontys. In between the various interviews and clips, he presented the Mentimeter Quiz. This posed questions like “How many students in the Brainport region are in technology?” and “How long was the exposure time of the first photo ever taken? (answer: around eight hours). The idea was that people at home could digitally transmit their answers.

Except for some technical glitches, this event went fairly smoothly. The students spoke enthusiastically about their fascination with technology and their dreams for the future. To make it all more concrete, examples were shown of what is possible. For instance, two female students showed how a nail is copper-plated in the studio. Another interesting project that was featured was Luca, a car made almost entirely from waste.

Promoting engineering through collaboration

Following this event, the DTW Talk “The Importance of Promoting Technology” took place (see link below), led by Bart Brouwers. In this talk, Thea Koster (chairperson of the Techniekpact) and Lianne van den Wittenboer (senior project leader education at Brainport Development) elaborated on the importance of promoting technology. Among other things, they focused on the question of how education can be better aligned with the labor market.

The topics of involving companies in education – for example, by appointing hybrid teachers – and lifelong development were central themes. The panelists enthusiastically discussed the many initiatives and partnerships that have been developed in this area.

Bart Brouwers in conversation with Lianne van den Wittenboer.

Inspiring activities

The next DTW Talk, ‘Business: The importance of collaboration with education‘, followed on from this by discussing how education and business can work together to ensure that young people discover their talent for technology. Stefan Slenders (manager of KOP Bureau), Jan-Paul Kimmel (social responsibility manager of NXP Nijmegen), Birgit Goumans (deputy director at Kusters Goumans) and Inge Wouters of ASML spoke at length about the various activities they are undertaking to inspire children and young people. The emphasis was again on cooperation.

Some examples of activities were A Company in a Box and the development of high-tech teaching boxes. Without investment from the business community, these developments would not be possible. Kimmel indicated that he pays special attention to Dutch children growing up in poverty. For these children, NXP has now made a sum of €35,000 available.

During the talk, more inspiring videos were shown demonstrating what technology can do for children. All those present agreed that technology promotion is still very much needed, but it is not about forcing children in a certain direction. The point is to get children to understand what engineering can do for them and what their future would look like if they chose to study – and later get a job – in the engineering sector. Only with the right information can they make conscious choices.

DTW Talk ‘Industry: The Importance of Collaboration with Education’

Would you like to see the DTW Talks again? You can do so here: