In September 2024, HZ will start with the English-language Engineering programme. Paul Grinwis, regional director of technical services provider Equans, sees opportunities for international students and employers. "The technical sector is eager for good engineers. The energy transition alone will create plenty of job opportunities in the next 10 years. It is important that HZ will train international professionals in the region."
Paul, what is your connection to the Engineering programme at HZ?
"As a student, I had the opportunity to experience the Engineering programme myself for four years. I graduated in 2010. A long time ago, but the fond memories are still fresh in my mind. I can truly say that the programme shaped me. In terms of knowledge, but also certainly in terms of life experience. From Equans, I try to strengthen ties with HZ more and more. We can help each other in many ways, for example in terms of internships."
What exactly does Equans do?
"Within the Netherlands, we are the largest technical service provider. For industry, but also in healthcare, for example. At the heart of our work is making our customer's lives more sustainable. We bring all our knowledge together to make the transition to sustainability. Consulting, engineering, construction and maintenance: we approach sustainability from all possible angles. We have specialists in numerous fields. From cooling technology to fire protection and solar energy. In addition to sustainability projects, we are also a 'regular' installer."
Why do you think the arrival of an English-language Engineering programme is so important?
"It is important for the entire engineering sector that we rapidly increase the supply of young professionals. We are facing huge shortages everywhere. The energy transition has only widened the gap between supply and demand. With only Dutch students, we are not going to make up that shortage. An English-language programme will bring in new talent. The region has a lot to offer international students. They can study at a high-quality college, in a beautiful coastal region with plenty of job opportunities."
What kind of work could an intern do at Equans?
"Our services are so broad that we can use interns in a lot of places in the company. Especially in the area of sustainability projects, there is a lot of interesting work for HZ students. Think energy consultancy or carrying out a smaller assignment themselves. If we recognise knowledge, eagerness to learn and enthusiasm in you, you will get plenty of opportunities to develop within the company in a short time."
The services of Equans are very versatile. Do graduates receive certain training when they start working for you?
"The development of our employees is very important. For people who have been working there for a long time, but of course also for the new colleague who has just come from the HZ. For graduates, we regularly look at the possibility of a Management Traineeship. You then work at three different places within the company over a period of eighteen months. This gives you a very broad picture of the organization, but also of your own talents and interests. If we are both satisfied, you can move on in that specific direction."
As a former student, how do you look back on studying Engineering at HZ?
"It was a wonderful time. I am by nature a techie at heart, so I enjoyed developing myself there. I especially remember HZ as a place where opportunities were there for the taking. We went with a group of students and teachers to the Shanghai Maritime University in China. Or to Italy to race our solar boat. That's where I even met my wife! In terms of subject matter, HZ was already excellent at that time, but as far as I am concerned, a university of applied sciences is only really distinguished by the opportunities you get there as a student."