Developing a drone to detect roadside bombs and using technology to prevent nature pollution. These are just some of the ambitions of the refugees who enrolled on a new technical programme at Fontys University this week.
This forms the preliminary phase of a new programme for refugees, developed by Fontys University and Stichting voor Vluchteling-Studenten (Foundation for Refugee Students). After completing the twenty week phase, students can enrol in a higher education programme in the field of engineering.
The eleven refugees all have a technical background. Most are from Syria. All have university degrees and many years of experience in Syria. But since arriving in the Netherlands, they faced the challenge of starting again in a country where they did not speak the language or understand the education system.
Diplomas and qualifications gained in other countries often do not resemble Dutch qualifications. Many people from other countries therefore choose to begin a study programme all over again in the Netherlands.
Valuable for the Brainport region
Simone van der Velde, project leader at Fontys, emphasises how valuable the new study programme is, for the whole Brainport region as well as for the refugees. She says that in the Brainport region, ‘technology companies are screaming for clever engineers and people with useful skills’. ‘The sooner someone can get back to work, the more value he or she has for society,’ she adds.
Translator: Rachael Vickerman