There is a great demand within SMEs for young, highly educated professionals. With the support of SIA, Avans University of Applied Sciences is developing a new trainee program that offers SMEs the opportunity to attract young talent. Moreover, it strengthens the relationship between SMEs and universities of applied sciences in the field of practice-oriented research. The first group of trainees will start in February 2021.

Project manager
Research area
February 2021 to January 2023

The Center of Expertise Biobased Economy is participating in the program together with various academies and expertise centers of Avans University of Applied Sciences. The concept in a nutshell; A talented graduate graduates on an innovative sustainability issue at a company and then enters the employment for one year to continue working on the innovation. The student and the company have access to the knowledge consortium of other participating students, companies, lecturers and researchers. In this way, students are not only supervised during graduation, but also in the first year after commencement of employment.

Knowledge exchange

Participating SMEs, students and supervisors will meet each other several times during the course of the program, both formally and informally. A sustainable environment is being built in which knowledge is acquired and exchanged. The input comes not only from the program itself, via affiliated research groups and guest appearances from stakeholders from the region (such as banks, regional development organizations, governments), but also from the participants themselves. A learning community of public and private parties is created that stimulates innovation.

Sustainability and energy transition

The innovation trainee program is in line with the government’s mission-driven innovation policy. From the participating academies and research groups, Avans has opted for the main theme ‘Sustainability and Energy Transition’. Sub-themes include climate and energy, circular economy, CO2-free built environment and future-proof mobility systems. These themes play an important role for the innovative strength and competitive position of the Dutch business community. Avans trains enterprising professionals from the study programs and research groups who contribute to this through practice-oriented research.

Assignments for the graduate / young professional must fit within the stated main theme in order to be able to participate in the program. This can be on a technological as well as an economic level. Technologically, for example, through smarter, more efficient and / or circular use of raw materials and material innovations. Economically, for example by reconsidering how an organization is structured: “rethink”. Examples are hybrid business models in which profit and non-profit reinforce each other and create multiple values.

What’s in it for you?

The program provides tangible added value for SMEs, talented students and the university of applied sciences. Parties strengthen each other and work together on sustainable innovations in the region.

Added value for the company

  • We do the pre-selection for a talented HBO graduate
  • You will receive help with the transition to a more sustainable way of doing business related to your innovation issue. The student conducts research and assists significantly in the implementation of your innovation
  • The student is fed, educated and trained with knowledge from multiple disciplines within Avans University of Applied Sciences and its lectorates, whereby the company – through the student and knowledge consortium – also gains access to this knowledge.
  • You are part of a Learning Community together with other SMEs with similar challenges.
  • You have 1.5 years to see if this student is an asset to the company, without obligation.
  • The supervision and training of the student is at the expense of Avans (with support from SIA).
  • A fantastic opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable society and economy.

Added value for the student

  • You will receive a challenging assignment for which your talent is desperately needed.
  • You will receive 1.5 years of intensive guidance and training from education and research within Avans University of Applied Sciences.
  • In addition to substantive guidance, you will also receive training aimed at your personal development
  • With mutual consent, you immediately have a one-year contract with the company after obtaining your diploma, in which you continue to work on the innovation
  • You can contribute to meaningful, sustainable innovation in business
  • You have access to a network of like-minded people; the Learning Community

Added value for the school

  • A new, intensive connection between education and business in the region
  • Retaining talent for the region
  • Stimulating sustainable innovation
  • A great tool to reward motivated, talented students

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