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Microsoft in your community

Addressing labor shortages in Noord-Holland through IT partner programs

In 2022 and 2023, IT programs created through a partnership between ITPH Academy, Horizon College, and Microsoft will provide professional development to candidates in the Netherlands province of Noord-Holland.

The projects aim to address the high employee shortages in the IT sector while at the same time talent in the region stays untapped. Two programs are enabling 90 candidates to participate. Forty candidates living in Noord-Holland have been given the chance to be trained for the role of IT Support Engineer, and the Digital Skills program that starts in June 2023 will support 50 Ukrainian refugees.

In November 2022, the first group of 12 participants and future IT Support Engineers started. These local candidates are attending the free program full time for three months, during which they will be trained to become IT professionals, prepared for employment and guided to work.

The opportunity to participate in the training program is a perfect fit for Kevin Kapitein. He has a natural affinity for IT and enjoys learning the latest techniques. He had previously started an MBO Education in ICT but was not able to complete it. With this program, Kevin is able to return to IT and work toward full-time employment.

“This opportunity comes at exactly the right time for me,” Kevin said. “I can’t wait!”

The labor shortage in Noord-Holland made finding participants difficult. The ITPH Academy used advertisements in regional media and an online campaign to seek out potential candidates and encourage them to sign up. Maarten Hetterschijt of the Werk in het Vooruitzicht initiative was responsible for the selection: “We had extensive conversations; the 12 students were very carefully selected. The potential of the candidate was central to this: what is their personal profile, what are their competencies? The great thing is that during the conversations, people often discovered qualities in themselves that they were not even aware of.” The ITPH Academy, Horizon College, and Microsoft work closely together in the program. Hardware lectures are given by educators from Horizon College, while the ITPH Academy provides experts in the field of software.

After completing the program, candidates will be connected with regional employers through the IT Academy West-Friesland. “This school year, our students started working for a dozen West Frisian companies and clients,” IT Academy’s Danny van Soelen said. “In this way, we also learn from companies what their needs are and we make the best possible connection between the educational institutions and demand in the market.”

The next partnership program will provide 50 Ukrainian refugees the opportunity to certify themselves in digital skills such as Microsoft Word and Excel. These certificates give them extra value on the labor market. Some Ukrainian students are already receiving language lessons through the Horizon College and will be encouraged to apply to the IT program.