Wafilin Systems will be one of the companies participating in a pilot for the innovation trainee programme. This programme was set up by NHL Stenden and Van Hall Larenstein Universities of Applied Sciences in cooperation with the Centre of Expertise Water Technology (CEW). The objective of this programme is to encourage and step up the research relationship between Universities of Applied Sciences and SMEs. Moreover, it offers participating students additional opportunities for development. These are important endeavours to which Wafilin Systems is happy to contribute. Maarten Trilsbeek, Talent Manager at the CEW, tells us more about the project.
More resources for SMEs
The CEW took up and developed the trainee programme together with the universities and subsidy grantor SIA, the Taskforce for Applied Research. Maarten emphasises the importance of a programme like this for SMEs: “Large companies often have the resources to offer students an internship. Trainees can get acquainted with the work in the different departments, receive plenty of support and gain a lot of knowledge. But such resources are often not, or only to a limited extent, available to SMEs. This programme seeks to change this”. The CEW acts as mediator in this, they coordinate the research issue with the company, and offer technological knowledge where needed.
Looking beyond our own discipline
Starting his internship at Wafilin Systems in February, Mark Olijslager will focus mainly on the marketing and sales strategy, with a view to increasing the contribution of the After Sales department within Wafilin Systems. After completing his project, Mark can immediately continue as innovation trainee in September of this year. Because where most internships end after the delivery of a (research) report, this programme will go on. Mark will have the opportunity to actually implement his research plan. Any support he may need, for example on a technical level, can be given by a student group within the talent programme of the Universities of Applied Sciences. “The necessary knowledge can be gained through, for instance, coaching, guest lectures and/or workshops. By offering support in this way, students will be able to look beyond their own field,” explains Maarten.
Currently, approximately 10 companies are about to start with this pilot. To qualify, a company must comply with one of the KIAs (Knowledge and Innovation Agendas). For Wafilin Systems, this is the Agriculture, Water and Food agenda. This is based on the company’s current challenges and the innovative solutions produced by Wafilin Systems.
Maarten is looking forward to a successfully completed pilot at the end of 2022, so that the programme can be continued within several small and medium-sized companies.