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Vocational education and university join forces for quantum technology

Quantum technology is the future, but not without skilled people. For this reason, the Talent & Learning Centre (TLC) Delft/Leiden has been established. This collaboration between vocational education, the university of applied science and university education enthuses students about quantum and connects education with research and business. The festive opening was held on 7 November.

‘The TLC is important to connect people,' says Hilde Wijngaard, project leader of the centre. 'Cooperation with multiple educational institutions and companies creates diversity, in education and background, for example. That’s a win-win situation for everyone.'

After a joint online launch with other TLCs in the Netherlands, the time has come: a countdown and a big, red button to festively open the centre. Afterwards, students, teachers and companies get the stage to share their experiences. The conclusion is clear: they need each other to make quantum a success. 

The Talent & Learning Centre is part of the Quantum Delta NL growth fund. To train people all over the country, centres have also been set up in Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Twente. In Leiden/Delft, the TLC is formed by Leiden University, the Leidse Instrumentmakersschool (LiS), The Hague University of Applied Sciences (HHS) and TU Delft. The TLC identifies educational activities, companies and facilities in the field of quantum in South Holland. They also provide inspiring vocational education to enthuse students about quantum, and find the right internship for each student.

'We can gain a lot by working together'

The quantum computer may still be a faraway future, but much other quantum technology already exists. The industry around quantum in South-Holland is expanding rapidly, which results in an increasing demand for skilled workers. Both for people with knowledge of physics, as well as the practical skills to make the instruments. This is also recognised by Nils Boertjes, quantum measurement engineer at the company Quantware. ‘Companies face a lot of practical challenges and we need people from all different backgrounds to be able to tackle those effectively.’

It is not only beneficial for companies to work together, it also makes education more enjoyable, says Casper Rose, chairman of the student board of the LiS: 'There is a lot to gain by working together, besides a project going more smoothly and results being better. You can inspire other people as well.’

Demos and a game of quantum four-in-a-row

The event concludes on a playful note, especially for those not yet so familiar with quantum. Visitors can challenge each other to play quantum four-in-a-row, picking up something about the principles of quantum mechanics along the way. Or, for example, observe a single photon in a demo setup, the basis for much quantum technology.

Jessie Qin-Dregely of the company Single Quantum sums up the TLC's vision nicely. ‘I definitely hope the TLC will connect companies and educational institutions better in order to train the next generation of engineers, physicists and other professionals. And ultimately, to nurture a healthier, more equal quantum ecosystem.’

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