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9 Million for green transition in water, chemical and food sector

Growth fund draws money for future-proofing North

The National Growth Fund is putting €9 million into a consortium of three sectors in the North working together to tackle challenges in the field of 'the green transition'. The money from the 'Subsidy Scaling up sustainable PPPs in vocational education' will be used by the Centre for Innovative Expertise in Water (CIV Water), Centre of Expertise Water Technology (CEW), Green PAC, Bakery Sweets Centre (BSC) and Agile Expertise in Learning Organisations (WVLO).

Scaling up is necessary because the water technology, chemical and food sectors are facing major societal challenges related to climate change, environmental pollution and energy transition. There is already a labour shortage and without action, this threatens to get worse. Moreover, innovations are needed. With targeted investments, further scaling up is possible now, so that more schoolchildren, workers and jobseekers can be trained for jobs in these sectors. Pieter Hoekstra, programme manager of CIV Water, sees opportunities to further develop MBO students as agile professionals.

Public-private partnerships (PPPs)

Vocational education that connects well with business is indispensable to keep the Dutch economy healthy. Since 2010, the Dutch government has therefore invested in so-called public-private partnerships (PPPs) that strengthen the connection between vocational education and business. They train young people for the regional labour market, keep regional business employees permanently employable through retraining and upskilling, and support SMEs in innovating. All networks within the new northern consortium are active for several years in the water technology, chemical and food sectors.


Pieter Hoekstra: "Water is everywhere and necessary; by working together with the food and chemical sector, water knowledge is broadened among professionals in these sectors. With our expertise of learning in hybrid learning environments, we contribute to the professionals of the future."

Jeroen Rijnhart, director of coordinator CEW: "With the awarded grant, we want to connect the three sectors in order to learn from each other. Our PPs have cross-links in the field of raw materials, energy and circularity of products and we are working together on the green transition. To give an example, the food industry uses plastic to package food safely. This plastic must be reusable and preferably also biodegradable. That requires the chemical sector. And to prevent microplastics from entering our water, the water sector plays an important role. By working together and investing together, the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts."

Regional support

For a successful scaling-up process, the support of regional partners such as government, business and education is indispensable, both in the form of co-financing and content. Jeroen Rijnhart: "The three northern provinces made an important contribution in formulating the theme of our application - Green transition in water, chemistry and food - and will continue to be closely involved in the implementation in terms of content in the coming years."

National Growth Fund

The 'Subsidy Scaling up sustainable PPs in vocational education' is funded from the National Growth Fund. With the National Growth Fund, the government is investing a total of €20 billion between 2021 and 2025 in projects that will ensure long-term sustainable economic growth.

For more information see: Grant Scaling up sustainable PPPs in vocational education.

Project partners: Centre of Expertise Water Technology (CEW), the Centre for Innovative Expertise Water (CIV Water), Green PAC, Bakery Sweets Centre (BSC) and Agile Expertise in Learning Organisations (WVLO).

The consortium partners are affiliated to the following educational institutions: OVO Fryslân-Noord, Friesland College, Aeres MBO Leeuwarden, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences.

Working with CIV Water

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