Gerard Zwartkruis (L), Paul van Nunen (R), © Jochem van Hattum

Even now that the Dutch Technology Week – at least for this year – is taking place entirely digitally, its importance remains undiminished. Gerard Zwartkruis, director of businesses Rabobank Regio Eindhoven and since this year the main sponsor of the DTW, sees the event as an important means “to stimulate growth in a vital living environment”. Essential to this is the way in which DTW draws the attention of young people in particular to training and work in the technology sector.

“Tech education teaches young people how the technology sector works and how much fun it is to work there,” says Zwartkruis. “You have to keep getting – and keeping – new people enthusiastic about working in high-tech, Medtech, and agrifood technology, in our wonderful manufacturing industry. The DTW is an important way of making people aware of this: what’s going on there, how beautiful it is to work there, and how important technology is in the societal transitions that are now so necessary.”

“Unknown makes unloved”, says Zwartkruis. “We think it’s crucial to contribute to young people’s understanding in this area, especially in this region. After all, in the end, if we don’t bring in new talents and keep them in, we’re going to have a big problem”.

According to the Rabo director, part of that interest lies in the fact that, even after the Corona crisis, our society will demand transitions for which new technologies will have to be deployed. “We are in a strange period of time, of course, but that need for transitions is not going to go away. Also in the medical field, for example, because you can be sure that another pandemic will come sometime after Corona. All in all, that makes the need for new tech talents enormous, and the DTW is an excellent tool for that very reason. That way, we can clearly see how beautiful technology is and what can be done with it”.

Longer term

Paul van Nunen, as director of Brainport Development one of the important protagonists of the DTW, points out that this is not a long-term need. “Even now, in the middle of Corona times and a severe economic crisis, there are plenty of jobs in technology. Transitions are here to stay, so this need will remain in the years to come. So there is a great collective interest of all partners in the DTW in continuing to focus on education.”

This is certainly not only true for the Brainport Eindhoven region, Van Nunen emphasizes. “The more we can turn this into an international event, the better it is. This is the ninth edition of the DTW, but in another nine years, we may be celebrating this in, let’s say, Copenhagen. We just have to get on with it, with all our contributing partners.”

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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.