There will be a new version of the Tech Xperience Week, which was conceived in 2018. This time with more candidates (not ten but twenty), a stricter selection and several ‘challenges’. The goal, however, remains the same: to grow ambassadors who tell the story of Brainport Eindhoven and Brabant in their own country. “So that their colleagues, family or friends have our region on their minds when they consider looking for work or setting up a start-up in high tech”, says Brabant Branding’s Sandy van den Hoogen.
The set-up of the Tech Xperience is slightly different from the first edition. “This time we try to match interested candidates based on their profile as well as a possible fit with the companies they will be visiting so their background fits with what the companies are doing”, says Yvonne van Hest of Brainport Development. “That makes the visit more interesting for both the talent and the company. At the same time, we also want to appeal to people with more different backgrounds.” The campaign focuses on people from outside the Netherlands, but within Europe.
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In order to achieve the goals, twelve companies have now been linked to the project; most of them in Brainport Eindhoven, but the rest of Brabant is also fully involved: Vanderlande in Veghel, Pivot Park in Oss, Fujifilm in Tilburg and Bradford Engineering in Heerle are examples of this. Other participants are Sioux, Schunk Xycarb, VDL ETG, Philips, NXP, NTS, Thermo Fisher and TNO. All participating companies have devised a ‘challenge’ with which candidates for the Tech Xperience should be attracted. Some challenges deal directly with finding new staff (for example, Vanderlande asks to develop software that can recognise the best candidate for a position), others are linked to specific products or the company’s technology.
Which can go very deep. Bradford Engineering searches “the most adequate manufacturing technique of shutter rings in the Reaction wheels that will be used in Attitude and Orbit control of Spacecrafts“. Bradford is a partner of NASA and directly involved in space travel. “Believe it or not, we already received a lot of reactions for this assignment”, says Van den Hoogen. The same goes for the challenge that Philips came up with: “Create and train an algorithm that can recognize Philips products from just a picture.” That may sound silly, but Philips has a deeper purpose with it: “At Philips, we use this kind of technology to recognize and classify medical data, to help doctors detect diseases faster and more accurately.”
Attracting and retaining talent in the high tech industry is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Brabant – with the manufacturing industry around Brainport Eindhoven as the clearest exponent – suffers above average from this. Various initiatives around training programmes and targeted recruitment are trying to change this, also in other countries. Although the Tech Xperience Week is not specifically designed for this purpose but focuses more on finding talents and turning them into ambassadors, according to the initiators it could be a nice side effect in the long run. In addition, efforts are being made to better promote the region as the ideal place to combine pleasant living and interesting work.
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