Why we choose to cooperate with educational institutions

More and more, educational institutions are using practical cases from the professional world as part of their training programmes, and we are very happy to take part in this. The combination between a new student perspective and the seasoned practical experience of our company creates a win-win situation.

At Jan De Nul we are constantly looking for innovative ideas and solutions. Sharing know-how and experience with each other is crucial, both within the Jan De Nul Group and beyond. A fresh view from the academic world can lead to inventive ideas.

Research means progress

Although the academic and business worlds are sometimes miles apart, they need each other and can reinforce each other. University research needs practical figures and experiences. In turn, the research results reveal opportunities for growth, which is beneficial to the companies in the field. From this point of view, we are happy to make our company available for research.

For example, four International Business Management students from the Arteveldehogeschool Gent recently gave a workshop on Diversity and inclusion in the workplace to some colleagues from Aalst office. An important topic that is woven into our CSR strategy and fits within SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities. They were able to test their academic insights against our company culture and from their theoretical framework they could offer suggestions that we might be able to roll out in our company. The workshop was well received, both students and colleagues were enthusiastic, gave positive feedback and shared insights.

Students, the future

Students are the future. That is why we are happy to let them do their internship with us or to assist them with their thesis. So that they can enter the business world with relevant experience. Last year, a few thesis students took a look at the continuous flow of interesting data that Jan De Nul receives. They helped us to unlock this ‘big data’ and thus to work more efficiently. During the 2020-2021 academic year, we assisted no less than nine students from three different educational institutions with their thesis.

But, we also work together with students and academics on innovative ideas that can have an impact on the future. We need to test these ideas before going large-scale. When we do that together with a knowledge institution, we can execute this practical test faster, and hence we can also innovate faster. Just think of the doctoral study ‘PLANT ME’. A study into sustainable protection of vulnerable coastal areas that focuses on the use of sea grasses.

Inspiring the youth

We don't wait until young people are old enough to work together on an internship or a thesis, we like to inspire them from an early age. That is why we put together a school package, to explain 10-14 year olds in a suitable way how to build a wind turbine and what professions are involved. We also participated in the "Zeekracht" project in Technopolis. This immersive digital space shows in an understandable way how initiatives such as offshore windmill construction, energy transition and building with nature come about.