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For five years in a row, the Brabant economy has been growing faster than the national average, the number of unemployed is historically low and there are more people in employment than ever before. This makes it difficult for companies to obtain good personnel, especially technically skilled people are difficult to find.

The opening event of the Dutch Technology Week at Brainport Industries Campus on 20 May will focus attention on this. After all, what does it take to solve this problem? Many technical companies offer re-training courses as “lifelong learning”. At BIC, employees of VDL are retrained by Summa College. But education itself is also changing. Primary school children are increasingly working on projects and there is more room for students’ own interests. At colleges and universities, it is already quite normal for students to work on solutions for companies. Monique de Wit is the project manager of the DTW and explains why continuing to develop yourself is an important theme this week. “The speed with which technological developments follow each other is changing our society. To solve today’s problems, other skills are needed,” explains De Wit.

Read more about the Dutch Technology Week 2019

Educational organisations call this future skills or 21st-century skills. These include problem-solving capabilities, collaboration and creative thinking. Skills that are necessary for an economically healthy future, according to more than two hundred employers and administrators from the region. Last year, they signed the Brainport Talent & Skills Accord which contains ambitions and agreements to invest in innovative education, attracting and retaining international students and knowledge workers and personal development.

Now, a year later, the living proof is on stage at the kick-off of the DTW at BIC. “These young people will not be stopped, they have the right future skills. They don’t think in terms of problems and are concerned with major challenges in our society, such as the energy transition or mobility,” says De Wit. At the opening, Tessie Hartjes of Lightyear talks about the company’s ambition to produce a solar-powered car. Also, TU/e‘s InMotion Team will talk about their project to use an electric racing car to complete the Le Mans 24 Hours. De Wit: “You can see that education is changing more and more. Students don’t just take part in education, they do all kinds of projects in addition to it in order to continue to develop themselves.”

The focus is not only on Eindhoven examples: Forze, a student team from Delft, is working on hydrogen racing cars. They talk about the importance of collaborating with companies and the extra opportunities that this offers them. “Society is not only changing in the Brainport region, this happens everywhere. And it’s not just here that solutions are devised. Dutch Technology Week is a great way to show that and to connect with the rest of the country,” says De Wit.

The Dutch Technology Week will be officially opened by ASML top executive Frits van Hout, who will underline the importance of technology promotion and will advocate more diversity in the workplace.

The Dutch Technology week is from 20 to 25 May. The opening is only accessible by invitation. Other activities or events are freely accessible or you can register for them in advance. Here you will find the full programme.