opening ASML Academy, © Bart van Overbeeke
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For a company that thrives on knowledge, safeguarding and disseminating that knowledge is a crucial prerequisite. All speakers at the opening of the ASML Academy at Brainport Industries Campus – including CEO Peter Wennink, branch manager Laureen Rwatirera, and dean Wouter Visser – made that clear in their welcome message. “Here, we assure every ASML employee the best possible conditions to further grow themselves and our beautiful company.”

That ASML has located the 7,000 square meters new international academy in BIC makes sense for several reasons. It confirms ASML’s position as part of the regional high-tech ecosystem and builds on a trend that BIC started much earlier by positioning learning and working together. The nearly fully occupied campus is also home to Summa College, Fontys, Avans, and TU Eindhoven as permanent residents.

Necessary growth

For Peter Wennink, the new center has everything to do with the growth of his company. “Growth is not a choice for us; it is a necessity, and we simply cannot escape it. Our success is essential to the success of a lot of other companies. But that growth does present us with dilemmas. We welcomed 10,000 new employees last year; they – like our other colleagues – must keep updated with the latest developments. That’s where the academy comes in. We care about learning because we care about our employees. That applies to everyone, including myself: you never stop learning.”

We care about learning because we care about our employees.

Peter Wennink
Opening ASML Academy © Bart van Overbeeke

Three pillars

The academy rests on three pillars, explains curriculum architect Henri Jaspers a little later. “Visualization, simulation, and hands-on practice. The visualization is done with VR, the simulation with software, and the hands-on practice with a real-life machine. We have it all together here.” For ASML, it’s a big improvement over the old situation because on-site, in Veldhoven, they had to use the facilities where production also took place. “This academy has many advantages. Think, for example, of early access: we can already start training without jeopardizing the work processes. But there’s more: it’s really hands-on whenever we want, we stay out of the supply chain, it’s scalable because we can export it like this to all our international sites, it’s much more efficient because we can focus on the essential parts, and finally it’s much more personal: we can create a specific program for everyone, at the time that suits that employee best.” On top of all that, it’s cheaper at the end of the day: with a centrally organized academy, ASML wins time and money.

Colleagues Vincent Biemans and Kas Pijpers then show the software and VR rooms, after which we end at the large machines under the management of Mark Mevissen. Where we were first allowed to tinker with the machines under supervision in VR and switch off and on certain parts in the software, we are now in front of the real hardware. Not everything is completely original (for example, the powerful battery has been changed to a neutral but exactly the same size steel plate for safety reasons), but everything is truthful. Mevissen, as the proud administrator, explains that this setup allows him to do much more than before. “Because of the quick access, much higher quantity, and increased quality, we can give people from various backgrounds exactly the training they need. Without getting in the way of the normal work process.”

Opening ASML Academy © Bart van Overbeeke

Even more movement for BIC

Director Ferdinand Gremmen of SDK Vastgoed – responsible for BIC – sees in ASML not only a company that fits perfectly in ‘his’ BIC, but also a party that can provide much more movement. “They have chosen to be part of the brand under construction that is the Brainport Industries Campus, founded on open innovation, the will to work together, and using knowledge to become better and more competitive. This will be a huge explosion for us – if alone because of the buzz that ASML brings. All those like-minded people will meet in our atrium, which will create a lot of inspiration and creativity.”