There is a severe shortage of technical personnel. They are desperately needed to solve societal problems currently at stake in the world. That is where the present generation of vocational training students will play an important role. This is why a special kick-off took place at the FC Eindhoven stadium: the VDL Triple T Academy. Thirteen BBL students are taking part. Alongside their on-the-job training at one of the VDL companies, they will also be working on their social skills and be set physical challenges.
The Triple T Academy is an educational program run by VDL Groep. It was devised in cooperation with Mikrocentrum and FC Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Every other week, the BBL trainees spend half a day playing sports or working on their personal skills in the areas of cooperation, result-oriented work, open communication, and entrepreneurship. This program runs for a year. VDL wants to make the choice for a technical profession more attractive and generate extra recognition for technical talent this way.
“Valuing talent in the manufacturing industry is what it’s all about,” John van der Pas, program manager of the VDL Triple T Academy, starts out by saying. “In the Netherlands, we have neglected skilled trades for quite a while. We are now redressing that together with parties in the region. ” He explains that the goal of the program is to provide more resilient and agile technical school graduates to fill any available job vacancies. This is one way he hopes to help solve staff shortages. Then, Van der Pas turns to the students: “You all need to learn how to work together with a Ph.D. physicist. To ask questions that arise from your own curiosity, but above all, to have a real sense of pride in your profession. “
Frank Bruls, training manager at Mikrocentrum, was closely involved in the creation of the educational program. “We were approached by VDL to contribute ideas to this project. We were already involved in a lot of social skills training at VDL companies. From there, we started working on establishing a structural program. From the very first moment, we made use of simulations, games, and challenges so that trainees had to work together right from the start. It really is a process of learning through experience. Now we have ended up with a program that we are extremely proud of. “
Patrick Laat is a welding foreman at VDL NSA Metal. Three of his BBL students are participants in the new educational program. and he’s thrilled that they are taking part in the project: “I am also involved in this project as a practical supervisor. This is such a fantastic opportunity for all three of them. I just hope that they will soon be particularly proud of their abilities, that they dare to be vulnerable and learn how to work independently and take initiative. “
The kick-off ends with an inspiring speech given by former top hockey player Marcel Balkenstein. The whole room listens attentively as he talks about his career di lui and the art of cooperation. He then offers the students a few final tips: “Dare to challenge yourselves, dare to sit down with those clever clogs. Something really beautiful is ahead of you. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and ask questions. That will only make you a better person. I hope you will reach the top at VDL and soon have some really nice jobs. ” Then it was time for a photo opportunity. The screen behind the top athlete turned into a sponsor wall and the students were presented with their academy kit.
Jens van Son will supervise the students through the physical section of the program, “The project is made up of a mental and personal as well as a physical development program. This is how we always try to make the link between personal development and sports. We will also get to visit TeamNL and Hockey Club Oranje-Rood. If you can go there and observe your own development, then that is super cool, of course, ”Personal development training is provided by sports psychologist René Berden of Mikrocentrum.
Wes Wouters (19) works at VDL ETG Eindhoven. He is one of the students who is about to start the education program. He had already had a busy day even before the kick-off started: “Today, we did our baseline assessment. We had to run laps on the soccer field here for 12 minutes and did all kinds of tests. Then we had a talk about our mental health. I hope to come out of this a better person myself. That’s what I want to accomplish. ” Wouters is mostly looking forward to the final assessment to see how far he has grown.