Top Advice from Business Owner Makes up for Loss of Pomp at Wittenborg Graduation Ceremony
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wittenborg's latest group of graduates could not walk across the stage on Friday to collect their diplomas or even throw their caps in the air. What they did get, however, was some sound advice from this year's keynote speaker, Marc van Gerrevink – a young, successful business owner from Apeldoorn, who shared some of the tough lessons he learned on the road to having a thriving company, Van Gerrevink B.V.
Meet Wittenborg's New Chair of the Advisory Board: Rijn Platteel
Rijn Platteel has been appointed as the new chair of the Advisory Board at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences. He replaces the outgoing chair, Ruud Dost, who has been a member of the board for the past 10 years. In an interview Platteel spoke about how he envisions his new role and the importance of creating equal opportunities for youngsters in an unequal society reflecting on recent incidents that rocked Dutch society, like the child benefit scandal and youth unrest. Platteel is the regional chair of the employer's association VNO-NCW (Stedendriehoek), as well as company director of Change=, a social real estate development and property management company.
Wittenborg Graduates Remain Positive about Prospects as they Enter Job Market
The majority of graduates at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences are optimistic about their prospects in the Netherlands as they enter the job market. This was revealed in a survey among its latest graduates in the days leading up to the institution's 2021 Winter Graduation Ceremony on 5 February.
Almost 70% of the graduates said that they want to stay in the Netherlands "hoping" to find a job, a small percentage have found a job already, while others plan to start a business. Just over 43% of those who participated in the survey are students who have recently completed a master's degree.
A student from Iran wrote: "I intend to stay and start a business. The Dutch business environment is attractive to me. I noticed that the government is supporting start-ups here." One Dutch student is making plans for after the pandemic: "As soon as events such as big parties, weddings, and festivals are allowed, I hope to find a job within the events industry. For now, my future involves becoming a wedding planner. Furthermore, I will continue practising my languages and plan on exploring some more." A student from Indonesia said she found a job in a medical supply company in Amsterdam and plans to stay in the Netherlands.
A small handful are more pessimistic about their chances. One, from Indonesia, wrote: "My zoekjaar (orientation year) will expire in 9 months, so I'll go along with that. With this COVID situation, I'm a bit pessimistic. If I get a job, I'll stay, if not, I leave."
Wittenborg Launches its 2nd Erasmus+ Project "Innovation in the FURniture Industry in the Era of Circular Economy"
30-Month Erasmus+ Project Launched
Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences launched yet another European Commission approved Erasmus+ Project known as “INnovation in the FURniture Industry in the Era of Circular Economy”. This 30-month project, known as INFURI, which received an EU grant of more than EUR 350,000, started in December 2020 and is expected to be completed by May 2023. This is the second Erasmus+ project in which Wittenborg is taking the leading role since the beginning of this academic year.
Circular Business Models
The aim of the project is to spread innovative and sustainable circular business models in the furniture industry with the focus on SMEs and to equip furniture employees with relevant skills related to circularity, while promoting synergies and cooperation among businesses, universities, research centres and other relevant stakeholders operating in the furniture sector. The initiative will set up 6 living (e)labs in 6 European countries and involves at least 36 furniture production companies, plus relevant stakeholders active in the sector of furniture & circular economy of countries involved in the project.
Do You Know Where You Are Going?
Being at a crossroad in life or on a path that you don't know where it leads to can be daunting. For some, if not most, it can be scary, confusing and even frustrating, especially when asked the question, “Do you know what you're going to do after you graduate?"
The common advice is: Take a deep breath and relax. Tell yourself that you are not alone and there is nothing wrong with you. First and foremost, do not listen to those people who tell you that you MUST pick a career when you graduate. That is a heavy burden on young shoulders. Know that there is no specific age that demands you to make a decision about your career and your life. Every individual is different and every person has his or her own map in life. As a young graduate, most of you would not have a clue or be still unsure what is going to make you happy for the rest of your lives. Nobody does. Even if you believe you have found the right calling, remember, it may not be so. Do not fret yourself when everybody else knows what he or she wants to do but you still do not. Be optimistic and take one day at a time, especially during these challenging times, where jobs are scarce and the future seems bleak. Do not feel desperate or overly stressed.
First Online Graduation Ceremony at Wittenborg a Heartfelt Success
Wittenborg held its first entirely online graduation ceremony on Friday. Due to COVID-19 regulations, the 2021 Winter Graduation Ceremony could not proceed as usual, but the university of applied sciences still made an effort to keep traditional elements, like the commencement address, a student speaker and lecturers spotlighting each individual graduate.
Wittenborg President Peter Birdsall addressed the challenges faced by students the past year and how the class of 2020/21 overcame them. "You graduated during a period which has been difficult for all of us," Birdsall said.
"We have been faced by lockdowns, an inability to access data, not being able to going to companies, speaking to people in organisations, which made the whole process of collecting data and writing Graduation Assignments more difficult. Many of you also had to do your final exams online. Enormous challenges for all of you. Therefore, we are very proud of you. We wish you all success for your new journeys and look forward to having you as alumni."
Birdsall said that "standing here in an empty school giving a presentation speech" is not something he would have anticipated. He expressed the hope that the summer graduation ceremony in July would be one that is in-person again with all the festivities and everyone being together. "I hope you will come back for that so we can congratulate you in person."
Tributes Pour in for Dr Jan-Albert Dop Who Received Royal Decoration for Services to Education
Tributes pour in for Dr Jan-Albert Dop Who Received Royal Decoration for Services to Education
Dr Jan-Albert Dop, Vice-President Corporate Affairs at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, decorated for his decades-long service to Dutch education, has passed away at the age of 75. Dop, who was a highly regarded intellectual in the education sector, received a royal decoration last spring in the run-up to King's Day. Colleagues at Wittenborg have expressed their condolences to his family.
Dop was born on 2 April 1945 in Rotterdam. He passed away on Sunday, 31 January, after a short illness. He leaves behind his beloved wife, Myrna, their two children and four grandchildren.
All Systems Go as Wittenborg Prepares for First Fully Online Graduation Ceremony
On Friday Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences will hold the first fully online graduation ceremony in its entire history. We caught up with the institution's events manager, Nadia Zaman, who has organised four graduation ceremonies at Wittenborg, about the challenges of putting together this one.
Among Wittenborg's latest graduates, 33% indicated that they would wait for the summer graduation ceremony in July, holding out hope that they will be able to attend the ceremony in person.
Hi Nadia, how is it going with the preparations?
Everything is pretty much on schedule, despite a few tight deadlines. Last summer we had a hybrid ceremony – some students attended in person, adhering to COVID-19 safety measures, while others graduated virtually. It was a good trial run for this one.
I can imagine it must be quite stressful?
Organising an event is always stressful, especially with so many parties involved (laughs).
How do students and their loved ones "attend" the ceremony?
They receive a Zoom link to the event which can then be shared with their friends and family. Prior, though, they have to complete a questionnaire, RSVP for the event and send us a photo. During the event we have a guest speaker, speeches from lecturers as well as students who want to share some thoughts.
Dutch Senate Airs Reservation about New Language and Accessibility Bill
The Dutch Senate has aired reservations about legislation proposed to give the Dutch government a better grip on the number of international students coming to the Netherlands – the senate fears it might damage the country's reputation. In any case, the question about accessibility should lie with institutions of higher education, not legislators, it was said in a recent debate about the Language and Accessibility Bill.
The bill was debated a year ago in the House of Representatives and has now made its way to the Senate. However, there are real concerns that it might meet delays as a general election looms on 17 March. In introducing the Bill to the House in 2019, the Dutch Minister of Higher Education, Ingrid van Engelshoven, said research shows that the proliferation of foreign students and courses taught in English is putting too much pressure on the country's higher education system.
An Inter-ministerial Policy Review (IBO), which preceded the bill, warned that internationalisation could threaten the funding, quality and accessibility of education. To restore the balance, the government wants to introduce stricter rules on the language of instruction, raise fees for students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and make it possible to restrict the intake on courses taught in a language other than Dutch.
"There’s a real risk that the system will soon be unable to cope with the numbers of new students," van Engelshoven said at the time. "It will squeeze funding for higher education and also crowd out Dutch students. So, I’m introducing these measures to safeguard the quality and accessibility of higher education, and ensure that the international dimension is more in harmony with other aspects of Dutch higher education."
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