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Yvonne van Hest SAEYSYvonne van Hest is responsible for the PEOPLE domain as Program Director at Brainport Development. In her columns for IO Eindhoven, she focuses on regional developments, backgrounds and trends in education and the labour market.

I think we have achieved quite a lot as a region in 2018. Economic growth has continued, there are more jobs and fewer and fewer people are unemployed. With the recognition of Brainport Eindhoven as the third mainport (region of national economic importance) in the Netherlands, we have become a steady partner in talks with the Dutch government. And that is very nice; not only for the necessary financial resources but also for the discussion about policy, legislation and regulations. Which is sometimes just as important.

In addition, in the coming years, there will be an additional € 130 million in national government funding – the so-called Regional Deal – flowing into our direction. With a co-financing of € 240 million, we have a total of € 370 million extra to spend in the coming years. Not bad, right? In other words: we can be very proud of that!

Of course, it’s not about the amount of money you bring in, or the discussion tables you get to sit at. It’s about what you do with all that and what you achieve with it. So let me assure you we are far from finished yet, in fact: we will never be finished.

For 2019 and the years to follow, regarding education and the labour market, we have identified the following main themes:

Quality & innovation of our education (primary and secondary education, mbo, hbo, wo)

Core themes are technology, entrepreneurship, creativity, world citizenship and ‘learning to learn’. Internal cooperation – both horizontally and vertically – and collaboration with the business community is further strengthened. We do all this for and together with all of our schools: both the Brainport schools and the schools in Brainport.

Lifelong Development

What we see is that in our region there are many beautiful, different initiatives and projects in the field of Lifelong Development. We also see many vision documents at all levels: from worldwide (OECD) to provincial (SER Brabant). What is missing, however, is the tactical level: how do we scale up all these small projects to a more critical mass and how do we translate these visions into concrete matters of action? We will be working on this in 2019, starting with a major awareness campaign on Lifelong Development.

Being able to fill vacancies

More and more companies in our region have more and more vacancies. This is due to the increasing shortage of personnel and in Brainport it is mainly about people in technology and IT, at all levels. It is expected that this will certainly remain a major challenge in the coming years. As a region, we are looking together at how to meet this challenge. This requires a number of things:

  • Increasing the number of tech & IT graduates in mbo, hbo and wo. We have too few graduates in tech & IT in the Netherlands. We must continue to work on this, for example with completely new forms of tech promotion (‘techpromotie 2.0‘) in which the students themselves are much more involved.
  • Further training and retraining of jobseekers and the unemployed.
  • Attracting and retaining international tech & IT knowledge workers
  • Innovation in recruitment & HRM: together with the employers we will look at how you can deal differently with recruitment and with the content of a job, so you can be more flexible in hiring people (sheep with 5 versus sheep with 4 legs; job carving).


In addition to economic growth, prosperity and, above all, well-being are just as important. The developments we are now seeing in our region may lead to a growing division in our society. We will continue to work on this in 2019; how do we ensure an inclusive society in Brainport Eindhoven?

We will also continue the foresight studies we started in 2018. What will the world look like in 2038 and how will we translate this back to our region and to the present, in the approach and content of the above-mentioned main themes and also in possible new themes, visions and interventions?

Whereas in 2018 we laid a very good basis for new collaborations and for financial resources to strengthen and accelerate projects with the Regional Deal, I see 2019 as the year of inclusiveness, tactics and smart interventions.

In short: we are far from finished!

You can find more information about the Brainport National Action Agenda and the Region Deal here and here.