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Universiteit Leiden Academy: Verdiep, verrijk en groei

Leiden University Academy is making lifelong learning even better! The entire range of programmes on offer for professionals has been expanded and united under this name. It is already leading to some great cross-connections, like a course on Legal English and in-company training in Intercultural Collaboration and Leadership.

The university has been offering programmes for professionals for a long time, explains project manager Annet van der Helm. Programmes in the fields of medicine, law, languages, psychology and pharmaceutical sciences, among others, have attracted many professionals for years. The university now wants to expand that range and promote it more widely under a single name and with one portal listing all the offerings. Those offerings range from in-company training and required refresher courses to interdisciplinary programmes and academic language courses that participants take out of personal interest.

As the world keeps changing more rapidly and major social transitions demand new knowledge and skills, refresher courses and retraining are increasingly important for employees and employers. ‘We have the in-house academic knowledge to do this in many fields’, says Van der Helm. ‘It is our social responsibility to contribute to lifelong learning. Participants report that the combination of disciplinary knowledge, academic skills and interaction with other highly educated participants from their field of work adds a lot of value for them.’


‘One advantage of the new approach is that it leads to cross-pollination’, says Van der Helm. ‘The Intercultural Collaboration and Leadership training is one example of this. A company approached us to provide it once they saw the website with all the offerings. The demand for interdisciplinary knowledge is also high among employers. We are now starting an in-company course and, should there be more demand for this subject, we may offer this course for open enrolment. Legal English is another great example. Not only are legal specialists interested, but also HR professionals who have to draft employment contracts in English.’

Responding to demand

To develop a good range of programmes, the project team works with the lecturers involved to look into market developments and respond to demand from clients, mostly university alumni. They look at what is needed in the professional field and how the university can serve employers in this regard. Alumni and other interested parties also can learn about the programmes by attending informational webinars and master classes.

The new, yet-to-be-developed programmes could be short modules of a few months’ duration or more intensive programmes in the form of complete courses. They might be taught online or in person. The university is also exploring collaboration with companies, educational institutions and government organisations in the region to jointly establish education paths for professionals. ‘By working together wherever possible and using each other’s strengths, we ensure a strong connection between the university’s academic knowledge and practice in the professional field. That’s what education for professionals is all about.’

This article previously appeared in the alumni magazine Leidraad. On pages 28 and 29, you can also read about lecturers’ and professionals’ experiences with Leiden University Academy.

Text: Marijn Kramp
Illustration: Jenna Arts

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