ACE is pivotal in setting up a hybrid teaching position

Source of article: Techniekpact

Photo: Liesbeth Dinnissen

Enabling hybrid teaching in the automotive world is the mission of Jan van Wijk, project manager at ACE. "The gap between education and the labor market simply has to decrease. ACE fulfills a pivotal role in this. From there, the cooperation between the automotive industry and the  automotive educations Fontys Hogescholen and Hogeschool Arnhem/Nijmegen is coordinated."

I see my background as an advantage. I come from the business world, that's the language I speak, but having spent quite a few years working on program councils, I also know the language of the study programs."

Key positions
Van Wijk: "The HR department has to be behind the idea. But that alone is not enough. It certainly helps if there are a few engineers within a company who are interested in education. But it goes further than that; the managers of these engineers also play a role. They must be open to it and willing to give people a chance and create room for it in their planning. But it is above all the entrepreneur himself who you need to get on board. In that respect it is no different than with us, with ACE. This project was started because director Kees Slingerland sees the added value that it can bring to our industry and training courses. He has made room for it. 'Make something beautiful out of it, Jan,' is his command."

"We are using this phase to create enthusiasm among the business community and among the training courses, to be able to show that both parties, education and business, have something to gain from this. The education system not only gets someone who fills in the hours, but also someone who brings knowledge and experience from the business world. For the companies it is interesting that one of them is walking around in the training and can see who is suitable to make them an offer, an internship or even a contract. We try to create a win-win situation so that the business community will say 'yes, it costs us something but it also gives us a lot' and will actively get involved. If this hurdle is taken then the financing will also be easier. But it takes time and that has mainly to do with unfamiliarity on the one hand and inexperience on the other.

A number of myths need to be dispelled in the process. These all have to do with fear. The other day someone said to me "soon I will lose one of my people. Look, if someone is really intrinsically motivated to become a teacher they are going to do it anyway. For example, I know someone who wants to combine his job as an engineer with one or two days a week for the classroom, but the company doesn't want to think about it. The result is ultimately that this person leaves. I can only take away this fear by showing that you don't lose people because of it, but that the guys who combine just love it and promote the company to students. So I tell companies that there is an opportunity here, if someone indicates in a performance review that he wants more variety in his work, or wants to talk to people other than his own colleagues."

Compared to a few years ago, the approach to cooperation between companies and educational institutions has changed. The time when universities of applied sciences were like 'we have a shortage of lecturers and we are at the table with the business community so they will solve this for us and it shouldn't cost anything' is fortunately behind us.
This is not the first time that we as an industry have tackled this subject. But then it was more about guest lecturers and not, as now, about hybrid lecturers, where people from the company take part in the training courses in a permanent form, with a fixed schedule and according to fixed agreements. There was no real concrete implementation yet. The HAN, with Dikjan Schaap as the driving force, went furthest in this direction. Now I'm talking to the new director of training. He comes from the business world, speaks the same language and knows the underlying issues. When you talk about 'how are we going to do it', you immediately succeed.

The basis, of course, is commitment. That has to come from both sides. This means clear agreements about very practical things like how many hours, where these hours are to be deployed and for what period. Because if you don't agree on this together and if both parties don't stick to it, it will never work. I have been working for two and a half months now and I am now in this phase as project leader.

 am looking at which partners in the field of training we can build a lasting relationship with, with the aim of being able to better connect the education labor market. Because it is not the intention that what I am setting up we are going to do for a month. That, as soon as there is panic on either side, the plug is going to be pulled. Sustainability means that we are going to make an agreement and that we are going to commit to it at least for the next two years."

"When I talk to the business community and training programs about hybrid tutoring, I talk about the different structures and the different possibilities in which you can implement this. That's a broad spectrum, with a hybrid teacher at one extreme and the hybrid expert at the other. I include not only the practical side (the interpretation) but also the financial aspect. The latter needs attention because it certainly plays a role with our partners. Don't think that will come later. In the business world they are not used to anything else. If a client comes with a large project, it's also about who is going to pay for it. The rates that are common in the business world in the positions we are talking about, the education sector cannot pay. That gap is just too big. So as an ACE, we are asking the companies to charge the bare rates. And if there is still a problem, ACE jumps in and takes care of those costs. We want the step to be taken at all costs.

When I talk to the person who is going to fulfill the role of hybrid teacher, I try to make it as attractive as possible. I ask him/her to take on the ambassadorial role and discuss how colleagues can be included, can be asked for help. I outline the backup scenario and offer alternatives so that continuity is maintained and in doing so I am making the teaching profession more sustainable. The more people I talk to, the more enthusiastic I become. We should just be able to do this. I've been around long enough to take away the excuse of why it couldn't work."

For more information, please contact Jan van Wijk:, tel 06-57491449.