Today the Dutch Brainport Eindhoven region has signed a partnership with the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. This agreement aims at offering Spanish students and recent graduates of Higher Vocational Educational institutes and Universities a traineeship at technology and IT companies in the Brainport region.

“The partnership is both beneficial to the Spanish government as for the Brainport region”, says Brainport’s Yvonne van Hest. “The primary motivation for Spain to agree upon a partnership with Brainport is that students and persons that have recently graduated gain valuable experience and knowledge in the field of IT and technology. Moreover they can improve their professional linguistic competences, knowledge of the culture and business life in the Netherlands. Something which is very fruitful for the Spanish economy after they return to Spain.”

Companies in the Brainport region are very enthusiastic about the trainees as well, according to Van Hest. “Technology and IT professionals are scarce and a lot of them stay at the companies after the traineeship has ended. This year only there were 82 requests for trainees by employers in the Brainport region.” Van Hest says that small companies, in particular, engage in this programme. “Because of the fact that technological talent is scarce they look beyond borders. The Spaniards are a relatively easy first step to attract international talent. Moreover they integrate well. Their English language skills are important during the selection process and if they decide to stay after their traineeship has ended, they learn to speak Dutch as well. And that is very convenient especially in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises.”

José Luis Mira Lema is head of the Education Office of the Spanish Embassy in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The office is responsible for promoting and strengthening the relations between the educational community in Spain and other countries. “To us a collaboration between Spain and the Dutch Brainport region is very important. For future Spanish employees it is of great value to gain international experience. Moreover the Brainport region in specific is very interesting to Spain because it is a leading technology region in Europe. Trainees gain knowledge that is very valuable to our country.”

The Brainport region already has been working with the Spanish Basque country. Over the last few years 165 trainees from Spanish Basque country came to the Brainport region for a traineeship with a duration varying from 3 to 6 months. Over half of the trainees that entered in the programme kept on working for the companies after their assignment was finished. The Spanish government now wants to adopt the approach for all Spanish autonomous communities.

The first concrete next step is an agreement with the Spanish autonomous community Galicia which will be signed on 13 September in Santiago de Compostella. “This will lead to an extra amount of trainees within a short period of time,” Van Hest concludes. “Something we are very pleased about as this will help us to meet the great demand for trainees by the Brainport companies.”