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If there is anything the manufacturing industry in the region needs, it is the enthusiasm of a young generation of technicians. Yes, despite many campaigns that brought technology to their attention, and the great progress that has already been made as a result, it still could be better. And that’s especially true for girls. The Dutch Technology Week is a good occasion to renew the focus on this target group.

dtwE52 publishes a series of articles in preparation for the Dutch Technology Week (23-29 May). This is the seventh part. Here the earlier parts.


Frits van Hout, as Chief Program Officer in the management of ASML, is more than anyone else looking for ways to maintain of the quality of his organization. Sometimes this works through talents from abroad (ASML now hosts 85 different nationalities), sometimes with transfers within the region (as long as you watch out not to ’empty’ the supply chain). But the most effective way is to ensure a constant flow of new, young recruits. And to get there, more children need to follow a technical training, both in high school and beyond.

Frits van Hout - Executive Vice President and Chief Program Officer_office_30374Van Hout recently got the opportunity to explain the problem to State Sander Dekker (state secretary for Education). “Research shows that out of every thousand girls at the primary school, only 5 graduate from a school of technology. Quite a disappointment.” It makes Van Hout angry over and over again. “This simply has to change.” Van Hout and many of his colleagues in the industry are dedicated to solving the problem. Not only by convincing Sander Dekker to do something about it, but also by taking action themselves. “Of course we can conclude that recent government measures around student tuitions only make it more difficult to get girls in technical studies, precisely because these studies are, on average, more difficult and take longer, but that doesn’t solve the problem. That is why we ourselves have taken action to go and inform all the schools. We visit them, and we invite deans and all the other tutors at our place. And ask students to come have a look inside. All in the belief that this can be changed.”

Brainport Schools

The lobby by Van Hout and his associates has already led to more “Brainport schools” in the region. These are schools where technology gets the attention needed to get more students towards technical secondary education. For example by organising class visits to companies in the manufacturing industry. Or by having engineers show in class what it means to work in the manufacturing industry. This has a great impact: at ASML partner schools the transfer to technical studies is significantly higher.”

Van Hout also attaches great importance to the JET-Net: Youth and Technology, a nationally active cooperation between businesses, education and government. The aim is to give HAVO/VWO pupils a real picture of science and technology and to interest them in a secondary education around technology. Van Hout: “The better we manage to demonstrate the logic of such an education, the more girls will see that maybe this is something for them. And finally, the greater the success of businesses that rely on sufficient supply of new employees. ”

Girls Day

ASML has already organised a special Girls Day several times in the past. And on April 14, 2016 ASML was there again. It helps spread the word, but besides that, ASML also hopes the Dutch Technology Week can help. The Night of the Nerds for example, can be of great help: thousands of students come together to learn and to party. “Maybe the reason they come is especially for the latter, but still, they also get a feeling of the joy of technology.”

Night of the Nerds

Night of the Nerds shows how fascinating the world of creativity, technology and innovation is. Over the course of the event, participants (from age 12) are feasted on the latest digital, technological and media developments. Passionate game changers and young heroes will show participants their way around Oculus Rift, robots, augmented reality, bioart, gaming, sound design for films, 3d printing, nano technology, interactive art, coding, and much more. The program consists of Night of the Nerds shows, a testlab, experiences, clinics and techtalks.

Night of the Nerds is a  FutureBites project. Night of the Nerds is part of the Dutch Technology Week ‘VO dag’  and is supported by ASML, Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie, VDL, Fontys, Phenom World and PP Personeelsdiensten.