What do you expect from your membership of the Board?
“The Board is a great partnership with which the economy in the region is promoted and we can work together with various parties to support the several social challenges we face together. I find the tripod of knowledge institutions, governments and companies that come together within the Board very interesting. The members are very diverse and that is reflected in the questions that are asked to each other during meetings. It is extremely valuable to see – and to be able to show – how different parties look at the same issues from their own organization and background. ”
What are your personal plans as a member?
“I am representative in the fields of Economy, Recreation & Tourism, Labor Market & Education, Agriculture & Fisheries, Governance, Europe and Animal Welfare. So quite broad. In this phase – the lecture has just finished three months – I am mainly busy with orientating my new portfolio. Read a lot, go on a working visit and get acquainted, see what is on my plate. So I cannot yet say in concrete terms what I am going to focus on within the Board, but in my previous term of office I was busy with circular procurement and the energy transition, important tasks within the province. Of course, those topics are also closely related to economics, so I will certainly look at that within the Board.
In my current portfolio, education and the labor market are important points of attention. I like to work hard for that and that of course ties in directly with the challenge of the Board. The shortage of technical personnel, at all levels, is increasing. This problem affects almost every company in the region and thus also the economy. Moreover, we need technical personnel to make the envisaged energy transition physically possible. I hope that we as a province can quickly make a difference there, partly thanks to the Board’s network.”
How are you going to do that?
“Employers are crying out for technical talent, while at the same time thousands of people are looking for work. Young people, returners or people who lose their current job due to digitization: all valuable talent that we can train, retrain or retrain. All those people can start tomorrow, so to speak. There really is a bright future for jobs in engineering, but somehow people don’t choose that. It would be wonderful if, by joining forces, we could let people make a change. ”
So get started!
“Sure! I am now delving into the initiatives that have been and will be set up within the Board. All kinds of programs in the field of education and the labor market are already running from the province, so we are going to look at where we can be complementary and how the initiatives relate to each other. What is still missing, what can I do as a commissioner, what does the Board need from us and what do we need from the Board? I am really looking forward to making success together in the coming years. ”
The Board is working on the shortage of technical talent within the TechConnect program. Over the next four years, the program will bring an additional 50,000 people — from underrepresented groups — to storm the tech labor market. In practice, this means thousands of women, people from socially disadvantaged neighborhoods, large groups of people over 40 and SMEs who are trained to be programmers, data analysts, growth hackers, UX designers or tech managers. | Read more
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Text: Ronne Theunis