Increasing the influx to technology together

In the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area there are now around 107 talent initiatives focused on technology. This means that companies sometimes have to search for a suitable initiative. The second edition of matchmaking event TOMAS CONNECT helps with this. "We need to fill the pond and in doing so we should not obstruct each other."

The large number of initiatives is precisely the reason that TOMAS was launched six months ago. TOMAS stands for Talent Development Match & Select and is a digital platform (Dutch only) and network organization in one, explains Natalija Counet. She took the initiative for TOMAS from the Amsterdam Economic Board, together with the municipality of Amsterdam, Digital Society School/AUAS, the MRA bureau and StartupAmsterdam. “We are already working very hard in the region, with TOMAS we are doing it smarter. With the online platform we provide an overview and with this session we bring the network together.”

My Tec Bedrijven

In today’s online session, several initiatives are introduced to the companies. For example, in 2014, the MyTec Bedrijven Foundation launched a training course at post-secondary vocational education (mbo-4 level) together with Nova College. Students can specialize in mechanical engineering, operational engineering and electrical engineering. “The training produces employees who are versatile,” explains Mathijn Korf. “And we are reaping the benefits of that. Half move on to higher professional education, but half go to work for companies from the foundation. Many people already work there, in which they have invested themselves. That is a nice result.”

MyTec likes to get in touch with companies that want to invest in talent for several years and that understand how important good technical education is.

IW WorkForce

WorkForce of IW Noord-Holland gives a boost to lateral entrants, explains manager Linda Lina. About 700 installation companies are affiliated and the initiative has ten workshops in North Holland where practical teachers do an initial assessment. WorkForce is a preparatory process for which a candidate will work for three months. “If it turns out that a good match has been made and the company and candidate meet each other’s expectations, a BBL process can be started.” For older candidates, WorkForce also offers contract education, for example courses for the installation and repair of solar panels and heat pumps.

WorkForce is continuously looking for candidates, but also for companies that want to join. They must have sufficient training capacity, Lina emphasizes.


ASTA stands for Arbeidsmarkt Samenwerkingsnetwerk Techniek Amsterdam (in Dutch) and combines existing initiatives, networks and ecosystems to contribute to the acceleration of the energy transition. “There is a lot of attention for lateral entry to solve the shortage on the technical labor market,” says Martin de Haan. “But people who want to switch do not always know where to report, because there are too many providers. ASTA is the counter to all these initiatives.”

De Haan calls on those present to think about the ASTA roadmap. If you have an entry-level job open, you can report it to ASTA and also if you are organizing a job fair.

Smart Makers Academy

The Smart Makers Academy helps companies to look at the labor market issue in a different way. “For example, by working smarter,” says community manager Marieke van Roosmalen. “In factories, people have often worked in the same way for a long time, but if you look at the digital transition, so much is already possible.”

Companies that are interested in what these solutions can mean for them can report to Smart Makers Academy.

Filling the pond

In the breakout sessions, interesting conversations arise about the challenges we face. Martin Lahnstein of Dmissi Electro is affiliated with various initiatives, he says. “This is how we enlarge the pool. We are all fishing in the same pond, but we also have to fill that pond and we must not disturb each other. It is better to start one large class than all half classes per company.”

Eline Mertens of Alliander agrees. She got to know Martin Lahnstein through VTi Amsterdam and from her role she also investigates how initiatives and companies can reinforce each other. “We don’t look directly for ourselves, but want to help enlarge the pond for the entire energy transition. By working together we can retain people for technology: then someone who is looking for a new challenge can make the transition from infrastructure to installation technology more easily. It won’t work if we all try to keep someone with you for the rest of their lives.”

Handy son or daughter

Technology promotion is also discussed. “We have to start with the young people for that,” says Xenia Hoekstra of Feenstra. “It does require a long-term investment to ensure that this target group opts for technology.” Mathijn Korf of MyTec shows that this kind of promotion can indeed have an effect. “We often work together with Smart Makers for this and will start the training next year with 40 new people, while we only had 23 last year.”

Two interesting initiatives in this regard are the MyTec internship guide and the VTI website “We need to give young people a better understanding of what kind of technical professions there are,” says Lahnstein. “Recently I was at a school in Amsterdam South where the parents of the children are doctors and lawyers. They think it is a shame if their child goes into technology. But of course that’s no shame. Parents should be happy when they have a handy son. Or daughter!”

On 5 July there will be a new opportunity to make the connection between business and talent development initiatives: TOMAS Connect LIVE, an event in Amsterdam. Sign up via this link.

6 June 2022

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