Jan Oosting | project lead, learning communities

‘Working, learning and innovation come together’

One thing is certain for the Human Capital Agenda (HCA): we will need to train a large group of professionals for the energy transition. Since developments in hydrogen are moving at breakneck speed, learning communities will have a key role to play. ‘In this, working, learning and innovating will come together as part of a continuous process.’  

The GroenvermogenNL HCA programme has initiated preparations to establish learning communities focusing on the development and application of hydrogen technology. Jan Oosting is project lead for this all-encompassing process. He attended the various regional HCA Safari Days with great interest. ‘It confirmed my impression of how diverse the regions are. Each has its own specific activities and issues.’  

Additional training and upskilling 

‘A clear picture emerges from the Safari Days,’ says Oosting. ‘Everywhere, we need large numbers of professionals for the energy transition. The focus will be on retraining and upskilling existing professionals. We’ll also need to look for alternative solutions for the labour market issue, such as automation: doing more with fewer people.’  

Working, learning and innovating 

Developments in hydrogen technology are happening at breakneck speed. At the same time, professionals need to get to grips with them immediately. ‘Developments are happening so fast that we won’t keep pace with them by applying the classic methods of innovation, learning and working,’ argues Oosting. ‘The challenge will be to establish learning communities where working, learning and innovation come together as part of a continuous process.’  

Central focus on current issues 

Oosting explains exactly what a learning community is. ‘It’s a vehicle that places the central focus on current issues from the world of practice. Researchers are attempting to resolve them with professionals from the world of practice who are thereby gaining new knowledge, as well as with students, who are gaining experience of the practical world at an early stage.’  

Successful learning communities 

In recent years, learning communities have really taken off as a means of tackling all kinds of societal challenges. ‘The question is how successful they are and whether they will remain so. That’s why, as part of the HCA programme, we’re also exploring how we can improve the learning communities concept.’  


Procedural strategy 

‘Ultimately, we’re working towards a procedural strategy for developers of new learning communities and those coordinating existing ones’, continues Oosting. ‘How do you set them up successfully, how do you identify shared targets and how do you ensure that the learning community stays together? For example, how do you ensure that businesses are willing to share knowledge and that professionals adopt a learning attitude? What works well will vary according to the region and context. That’s something we’re also bearing in mind. Twente now has micro-learning communities, for example, in which parties meet over a ten-week period to deal with relatively small-scale issues. It’s a concept that could work well in many other places.’  

National Knowledge Platform 

November will see the publication of the final report on learning communities featuring a practical procedural strategy. ‘It would be great if learning communities could work with the new National Knowledge Platform in ensuring that knowledge flows from regional communities via the platform to other regions. If this results in the development of an ecosystem, I’ll be delighted.’  

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Jan Oosting (projectlead)
Liaisonteam Oost Nederland