Traineeship in horticulture
Food for thought Young professionals
Monday, 20 December 2021
Jacco Strating

Dutch tech companies offer unique traineeship in horticulture

TNO, AVAG and HortiHeroes are introducing the HortiTech Innovation Traineeship in the Netherlands. Talents who have graduated at university level and who have a maximum of two years of work experience will have the opportunity to work at three different technology companies in horticulture for two years. At the same time, they are offered a management development program by HortiHeroes. 

Technology companies in horticulture are having great difficulty attracting highly trained technical employees. While the need for talents with knowledge in the field of robotics and digitization is growing rapidly at these companies. According to program manager Lenny Dijkshoorn of HortiHeroes, horticulture is still unknown to many university graduates in the Netherlands. The HortiTech Innovation Traineeship is one of the initiatives that should change this.

“All three of us notice that the need for highly trained technical employees within horticulture is increasing”

Bringing parties together

HortiHeroes is an initiative in Dutch horticulture that creates connections within and outside the sector. HortiHeroes collaborates with more than 17 established companies, 29 young professionals, more than 35 startups and more than 20 ecosystem partners. Together they form a community full of talent, promising startups, entrepreneurs and young professionals. One of the partners of HortiHeroes is AVAG, the trade association of the Dutch greenhouse construction and installation sector. Research organization TNO is also one of the partners. “All three of us notice that the need for highly trained technical employees within horticulture is increasing. In addition, we see that innovation/R&D activities and new collaborations are developing and growing faster and faster, which also increases the need for university talent. That is why we have set up the HortiTech Innovation Traineeship together, a unique initiative to introduce young technical top talent to our ever-growing sector.”

“ In two years' time, the trainee will work on innovation at three different technology companies in horticulture.”

HortiTech Innovation Traineeship

Dijkshoorn indicates that a traineeship is always a combination of working, learning and personal development. “This is also what we offer in the HortiTech Innovation Traineeship. In two years' time, the trainee will work on innovation at three different technology companies in horticulture. This can be done by means of a (data) project or as a consultancy assignment. In addition, the trainee becomes part of the HortiHeroes community and the trainee follows the management development program (Future Leadership Program) at HortiHeroes. During this development program we work on personal and professional development with the aim of developing your own authentic leadership style. The HortiTech Innovation Traineeship will start in the spring of 2022.”

“We are looking for fresh minds with leadership potential, who think in a solution-oriented way”

Which talents are sought?

“There is only room for three Innovation Trainees,” says Dijkshoorn, who indicates that they must also speak Dutch. “We are looking for fresh minds with leadership potential, who think in a solution-oriented way, who dare to go against the grain with the aim of ensuring that innovation gets off the ground. You need to have guts and a growth mindset for that. Naturally, the trainee has a master's degree from a (technical) university and it is an advantage if the trainee has some knowledge of programming and is crazy about data. If the trainee also finds it important to contribute to a healthy, happy and sustainable world, then these are the talents we are looking for.”

Dijkshoorn believes that this traineeship helps to put horticulture positively on the map among highly educated technical talent. “Ultimately, we want to retain these people for the sector and at the same time, these trainees can open the door to horticulture for more graduates.”


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