Katapult.eu - the Netherlands
Katapult is a flagship programme, created by the Dutch National STEM Platform (PTvT), the organisation implementing the National Technology Pact (previously the Dutch National STEM Strategy). Katapult is a national network, which supports various public-private partnerships in the higher education and vocational training sectors.
With more than 450 partnerships between education and business - a number that is continuously growing, Katapult's aim is to improve cooperation between the 2 sectors and bridge the gap between the skills students develop in university, and the skills the labour market needs.
Aims and objectives
Katapult's network of centres is spread across the Netherlands and monitors the intake of students in ICT subjects, as well as the links between the world of education and the world of work. This network of centres conducts research on how to continuously connect education and innovation to train the professionals of tomorrow. The network promotes innovation by making space for students, teachers and business and technology professionals to interact, connect, and collaborate to achieve results: be it a new digital product, an innovative idea, or the birth of a new partnership. Katapult facilitates this process and innovates together with those taking part.
Katapult.eu's toolkits address a variety of topics relevant for VET and education providers, business professionals and owners, and SMEs, such as:
- Digital guidance on setting up and financing public-private partnerships;
- Tools to improve gender diversity within your organisation;
- Lessons for VET providers on supervising students implementing individual projects in practice, and promoting lifelong learning;
- A Starter Digital Workshops Kit for aspiring entrepreneurs and SMEs just starting out; and many others available on Katapult.eu.
Why is this a good practice?
Katapult essentially functions as a nation-wide support network for public-private partnerships in education and VET. This network includes virtually all VET providers within the Netherlands. To enhance the knowledge within the education sector, Katapult's programme involves visits and lessons by business professionals, or students who conduct research for an SME during their studies. The programme has achieved substantial results, with 124.000 students already on board, 12.000 participating companies, and 8.000 teachers.
The Katapult model for public-private partnerships scores high in both sustainability and accessibility: its business model is based on contributions from around 10.000 of participating companies, which makes up over one third of its total budget. Partnerships are also funded via the Dutch 'Regional Investment Fund VET' (RIF) and supported through each phase (application, implementation, upscaling and sustainability) by the Katapult-network.
The Katapult.eu Toolkit is available in different EU languages and can be used completely free of charge. The open-source tools are currently deployed by a range of global partners, including the EU-funded Centres of Vocational Excellence'-project for water technology (PoVE Water). The website also includes a wide range of resources ranging from independent impact studies and network mappings to (English subtitled) video documentaries on the functioning of individual public-private partnerships in the Netherlands in a wide range of sectors.