Armand Jacobs
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Technological developments are moving fast. Predictive maintenance, AI, and 3D printing are now indispensable in many companies. In many cases, these developments mean progress, such as new products or faster systems. But it also means that knowledge is rapidly becoming obsolete. Employees must continuously adapt and grow with it. Engineering firm VIRO has long been committed to facilitating this growth for employees and, therefore, also for customers. The agency helps diverse companies implement new technologies like R&D, business mechanization, or automation. “We relieve customers in mechanical engineering, product development, project support, and industrial services as a whole,” says Armand Jacobs, manager of engineering at VIRO.

Why is this important?

There is a permanent shortage of talent in the tech sector. Several companies are therefore focusing on talent development. Not only to keep people engaged but also to stay in the lead.

Through the VIRO Academy, the company – with fourteen branches in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany – tries to give employees as much space as possible to develop themselves. VIRO has been cooperating with Mikrocentrum for more than ten years to train technical professionals and shape the principle of lifelong development. “Employees are our human capital. Through the Academy, they can follow both technical courses – the hard skills – and courses in personal development – the soft skills,” Jacobs said.

Development and growth

It is essential for VIRO that employees can continue to learn and develop. “That is important for the people themselves so that they can grow into other positions. But in addition, it is also important for our company. Our people are our calling card,” Jacobs says. Because employees know the latest trends, they can also deliver the best results to clients. “That ultimately also ensures good results, satisfied customers, and new, more complex assignments. Thus, as an organization, you move further up the chain, which also brings more and more challenges for employees.”


Within the VIRO Academy, people can not only develop further within their field of expertise but also retrain for another field. “This increases job satisfaction, and, in addition, it is also convenient for us as a company to be able to employ people in several places.”

To attract and retain both existing and new people in the high-tech sector, it is essential to offer new knowledge, agrees Wilma Kuijpers, program manager at Mikrocentrum. The principle of lifelong development plays a vital role in this. Mikrocentrum contributes to this by offering courses, events, and talent development in technology. “It is important that employees develop themselves, for example, in data science, electronics, or welding. In addition, social skills are essential for keeping up with new developments. With good communication skills, people seek each other out more quickly, making cooperation easier and better. This is extremely important because more and more companies have multidisciplinary teams,” she explains.

The real power

Mikrocentrum is a connecting platform for the high-tech and manufacturing industry that provides knowledge sharing. It focuses on technical skills, but there is also much attention to the so-called power skills (also known as soft skills). Kuijpers states power skills include communication, project management, and leadership. “I compare these skills to how electricity works. You can have such a good system; as soon as the electricity fails, everything comes to a standstill.”

On the right track

VIRO has drawn up learning lines together with Mikrocentrum to keep the entire training process on track. These lines provide an overview of an employee’s development in a particular function and include the courses that accompany it at specific times in the trajectory.

In the case of VIRO, all employees start with some introductory courses. After that, the offer varies by department and position. Jacobs: “In addition to the training matrix that we have set up, employees can also come to us themselves if they want to take a specific course.” Some of the courses are organized by Mikrocentrum, on location at VIRO, but sometimes employees also take part in open classes at Mikrocentrum together with employees from other companies. “It is also precious to share knowledge and exchange experiences with others,” Jacobs said.

Position in the market

With the extensive range of training courses, VIRO wants to stay ahead in terms of content. “This way, we are always updated with the latest developments. In addition, we distinguish ourselves as a company by offering training courses to employees. In this way, we offer a nice, inspiring workplace that people enjoy going to,” he says. Kuijpers sees this in other companies engaged in Lifelong Learning. “Ample opportunities in terms of training and courses are an important way to captivate, bind, and retain people.”


This story is the result of a collaboration between Mikrocentrum and our editorial team. Innovation Origins is an independent journalism platform that carefully chooses its partners and only cooperates with companies and institutions that share our mission: spreading the story of innovation. This way we can offer our readers valuable stories that are created according to journalistic guidelines. Want to know more about how Innovation Origins works with other companies? Click here