Brainport Launches New Plan for Attraction and Retention of International Talent
Wittenborg CEO Maggie Feng Praises Initiative and Highlights the Importance of Internationalisation
An innovative and sophisticated initiative aimed at attracting and retaining international talent in the Brainport region of the Netherlands was officially launched on 7 November at Brainport Eindhoven. Wittenborg CEO Maggie Feng had the opportunity to attend the launch, together with other seasoned professionals of the education and business sectors, as well as government representatives and entrepreneurs.
Titled ‘Regional Vision on International Talent’, the strategic plan is focused on developing a solid regional vision that enables stakeholders from multiple sectors to join forces and tackle the challenges regarding internationalisation. The strategy is primarily targeted to the attraction and retention of IT and tech professionals at all levels, from vocational to PhD. It consists of four main stakeholder groups: governments, educational institutions, employers and internationals themselves.
During the presentation of the plan, it was highlighted that the Netherlands faces critical issues such as the significant aging of its population and the energy transition to sustainable sources. The Brainport region, in the south of the country, is a leading technological hotspot where new solutions are being developed, but the demand for international talent is increasing.
In 2021, more than 48,000 migrant workers worked in Brainport, out of which 18,000 were knowledge workers. This represents more than 56% of all knowledge workers in the Brabant province. Additionally, the number of international students currently exceeds 5,000, which corresponds to an average annual growth of 8% since 2010. The stay rate for international students is highest for technical graduates (30-40%).
Nevertheless, although international talent is crucial for the region and for the country, stakeholders have identified bottlenecks to its attraction and retention. These include housing issues, pressure on social services and the political environment and sensitivity around migrant workers, among other factors.
Therefore, the ‘Regional Vision on International Talent’ calls up for different organisations and sectors to work toward the implementation of new technology-market combinations for solving societal challenges.
Its priorities include providing innovative education for all pupils and students in Brainport and the establishment of a well-balanced labour market and instruments to support public-private ecosystems, as well as the fostering of an inclusive society that brings international and Dutch residents closer together. In addition to international students and professionals themselves, the strategy predicts measures aimed at promoting the onboarding and inclusion of their spouses and families.
Wittenborg CEO Maggie Feng praised the plan and pointed out that the collaboration between industry, the education sector and the government is crucial to attract more international talent to the Netherlands.
“The Netherlands has a high demand for highly-qualified professionals of different fields, which means that internationalisation is fundamental for the progress of the country. This can only be achieved through partnerships involving multiple players within the public and private sectors such as schools and universities, government agencies, start-ups and tech companies. At Wittenborg, internationalisation and diversity are two of our core values, and we have also implemented various bachelor’s and master’s specialisations in the fields of IT, technology and innovation. Moreover, we are happy to be involved in various initiatives by other organisations that share the same view, such as Brainport,” she said.
by Ulisses Sawczuk