- Develop and realise the university strategy towards LLL and continuing professional education in collaboration with faculties, the university corporate office and industry
- Advocate the mission of the Extension School
The discourse around the provision of Lifelong Learning (LLL) continues to grow in importance and involves governments, educational institutions, and companies at both the national and the European levels. It focuses in particular on the offer of post-initial education for working professionals and on how such provision can be a means to bridging the skill gap in the labour market, supporting employability, and facilitating access to critical job sectors, such as those linked to our societies transitioning to green energy. In line with TU Delft's strategic goals for LLL, in 2022 the Extension School continued to be actively involved in a series of relevant projects that were initiated in previous years, while also taking the lead in new initiatives. Some notable activities are highlighted below.
EU Pact for Skills
This European-wide initiative seeks to mobilise and incentivise private and public stakeholders to take concrete action for the upskilling and reskilling of people of working age. By adhering to this initiative, TU Delft contributes to the skills agenda of the EU with activities led by the Extension School aimed at skill development education, for example, the coordination of a multi-stakeholder project by the Economic Board of the Province Zuid-Holland to connect the demand and provision of professional education relevant to the energy transition in the region; its dedicated Skills for Engineers program; and a range of online courses to equip individuals and organisations with the expertise they need for the energy transition.
LLO Katalysator project
The organisation is active in this project, which is part of the National Growth Fund initiative (€20 billion invested by the Government over five years) and aims to create sustainable employability for the Dutch working population. It seeks to strengthen the LLL infrastructure and support the transition toward innovative and future-proof education. The project focuses on helping to meet three specific challenges in the Netherlands: creating sufficient insight into the demand for labour in the future; ensuring the availability of a sufficient and skilled workforce to meet that demand; and developing an adequate learning culture.
Energy Switch Zuid-Holland
This initiative, part of the growth agenda projects of the Human Capital Agreement of the Economic Board Zuid-Holland, supplies a dedicated platform bringing together knowledge institutions, pilot locations, government bodies, business associations, and several companies in the region to provide the training necessary to a successful transition to a low-carbon economy. It aims to improve cooperation between existing, local initiatives to help people acquire the knowledge and skills they need for a job in the energy transition; concurrently, it works to provide better insights into the market for the supply of such training.
4.TU Federation Sector Plan – LLL project
Another initiative aimed at reducing the skill gap to meet future market demands that the Extension School is contributing to is this collaboration by the 4TU.Federation – comprising TU Delft, the Eindhoven University of Technology, the University of Twente, and Wageningen University & Research. It focuses on beta-technology education to help reduced labour market shortages in associated disciplines and targets alumni with backgrounds in electrical and mechanical engineering, and information technology, as well as workers who are interested in (re)training in these fields at university or higher-vocational education level. One project activity in 2002 was a collaboration with FME (the Dutch employer's organisation for the technology industry) to explore options for a joint program in the field of energy transition.
Participation in international fora
Regular participation in conferences and events related to open and online education and lifelong learning is an important outreach activity that helps to raise awareness and showcase the University's vision and role in providing high-quality continuing education. By attending and presenting at these events, the Extension School connects with other professionals in the field, shares best practices and innovative ideas, and builds relationships that can lead to future collaborations.
Amongst several, we presented, gave keynotes, and were members of panels at the EDEN Annual Conference; EDUtech Europe 2022; Education 2.0 Conference; EPIC – Educational Pioneers and Innovators Conference; Open 2023 Working Group; Affordable Degrees at Scale Symposium; Ontwikkeling Telt Festival; and COP 27/ United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change.
In addition, we welcomed representatives of other European universities during the TU Delft Exchange Day for Higher Education Institutions held on 5 October to share experiences and insights with peers interested to learn more about education developments and innovations at our University.
Our advocacy and commitment to open and continuing education are regularly praised and internationally recognised. In 2022, Extension School colleagues received two global awards for their leadership in advancing open practices and lifelong learning education – for details, see the Awards section.
We promoted our educational activities through articles, press releases, social media, and blog posts, keeping our stakeholders informed and connected. Showcasing success stories and the positive impact of our educational portfolio on individuals, companies, and society at large, highlights TU Delft's role as a leader in continuing education and enhances its profile and that of its lecturers. In this report, a selection of news items is included at the bottom of the pages.
Extension School for Continuing Education
Image credits (CC-BY): Jigsaw puzzle by B. de los Arcos on WeLIkeSharing on Flickr, Bernd Klutsch on Unsplash, David Alberto Carmona Coto on Pexels, Jonathan Borba on Unsplash.