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Spotlight: UWV

Students of ILS learn their profession in real life. That is why International Lifestyle Studies works together with companies from the Netherlands and abroad. In the first two years of the programme, these companies act as project owners. In their third year, students can also approach them for their internships. On Join ILS, these companies introduce themselves on a regulary basis.

Company name UWV

Representative Tom Koppe

Has collaborated with ILS since 2020

Sector Work

What kind of company is UWV?

"We are a large company with 18.000 employees that supports in social security. And we actually do three things that are most visible to the outside world. The first is payouts; if you become unemployed, you can get a payment from us. The second is that we help people to get a job. From "job to job" we call it. If, for example, a large company goes bankrupt, we look at how we can help the people who work there. We have a website with vacancies and contacts in the country with several employers. And thirdly, we have social medical matters. There are doctors there who look at whether people are still able to work and with how much capacity they are able to work."

What is your relationship with ILS?

"I was involved in a hackathon, a meeting where in 24 hours different people come up with innovative and creative solutions around a certain theme or problem. I came into contact with ILS through this hackathon. It was said that it would be interesting for me, someone in the innovation field, to have contact with your institute, which also has a focus on trends. At that time we were also interested in having contact with students because for us this is a target group that we have more indirect than direct insight into. So one thing led to another and I was later asked as a commissioning party for first year students."

What is the added value of this type of collaboration?

"As UWV, we have gained insight into a group that we often only have indirect insight into by, for example, reading things about it. This collaboration has resulted in more conversations with this group that is not directly our core business. In addition, I have often worked with students who can offer interesting insights from their field of expertise. But these really rise above it. In this case the students really came up with things that gave us a different perspective. They truly gave me new or slightly different insights. And at some points they showed me my blind spot."

What do you like about ILS?

"I only got to know the students for a short time and the situation of quarantine also caused some distance. The final presentations were digital in the end. But what I see is that there is a freedom for the students and that as a student you have space to be yourself and that you can give 'who you are' a proper role in this study. This is different from, for example, public administration, which I studied myself. At ILS you can give colour to the spectrum. If I where young I would be interested in this study. You are working on designing the future and coming up with creative concepts. I'd very much like to be a commissioning party again in the future. Both to work with ILS students and to introduce them to a company like the UWV that is much more interesting and challenging than it might seem at first sight."

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