Building & Business operations Countries The Netherlands

Sustainable renewal of a school building

Ivo Dassen, coördinator management and maintenance of Yuverta presented all the renewal actions they have taken at the school to make the building and grounds more sustainable.

The action are related to several issues and SDGs:

Lighting: Implementing flexible and automatic led lighting

·  Rainwater: collection, storage and disposal

·  Grounds: greening the schoolgrounds (see former post)

·  Roof: biodiverse tiled roof

·  Interior: flexible, maintainable teaching area

·  Floors: new from recycle materials

Got the full presentation to fetch new ideas for your own school.


During the presentation Ivo gave some recommendations

  • Practice what we educate. So if you want your students to think more sustainable then also create an inspiring sustainable learning environment.
  • Use maintenance and management information withing your lessons so students can learn from the collected data of their own school environment.
  • Connect with professional partners with experience in the field like Signify Phillips when thinking about lighting.
Building & Business operations Countries The Netherlands

A green paradise to attract students

During our TPM in October we visited Yuverta College in Nederweert. This pre-vet school invested in the development of a green paradise at their school to attract new students.

The amount of students entering the school declined during the years from more than 450 students in 2010 till almost 240 in 2019. Because of this decreasing trend the quality of the school was under pressure
and actions were needed to attract more students.

The new director of the school Marisol Becerra beliefs in the power and attractiveness of a green learning environment and invested with her team in the greening of the environment of the school both outside and inside the school.

First of all the tiles at the schoolyard were removed replaced by a natural pond and garden, a vegetable garden and a wooden open outdoor classroom.  The old ugly wall surrounding the garden was also renewed through an inspirational green artwork.  They call it the green paradise to indicate that it is a very friendly and attractive place to learn, work and relax.

The interior of the old school was also tackled. Through a partnership with a local nature photographer the hallways and classrooms were
changed into green classrooms by adding beautiful pictures at the walls of landscapes, animals, plants and flowers. Even the lockers of the students were changed into green lockers by adding a large picture of a butterfly.

The effect of these changes  were very clear. Teachers, students, parents and visitors were very enthusiastic and really felt at home in this new green paradise.  This year the inflow of students has increased instead of declined. Will this be beginning of a rising trend?  And is this the effect of greening of the learning  environment? It is is not certain, but there seems to be a positive effect.

But how did she get the budget for all these changes?

Her main advise is to be active and creative to realise different kinds of budget. There are all kinds of budgets which can be applied for and can be combined for you own benefit. Also think about sponsoring and crowd-funding. A lot of companies, even MC Donalds, want to help and allocate money for greening, sustainability and education. So connect to your environment en invest in developing a good network with local partners.


This Good Practice makes clear that investing in an attractive
and inspirational learning environment  is important and will support the raise of students entering your school.

It also makes clear that connecting with partners in your
local en regional environment is important because it can help you to realise your ambitions and goals. Invest in a proper network with companies, other schools and your local government.


Meeting at Yuverta College in The Netherlands

After a long time with several meetings online we finally had the chance to meet each other life in the sheep shed in Limburg in The Netherlands. Except Finland, who were not able to come because of COVID school regulations, all partners were present and looking forward to a full program with several presentations, visits and discussions.

Every transnational project meeting has a specific theme regarding the Whole School Approach to Sustainable Development (see homepage): ‘Vision & Strategy’ which will be main part of every meeting and ‘Building & Business processes’ were the themes of this meeting.

Yuverta prepared a very informative and interactive program in which we shared a lot of Good Practises with each other. These Good Practices will all be published at this website during the upcoming weeks.

Hereby an overview as a starter:

  • The WSA to Sustainable Development (already published at the homepage)
  • The Z-Generation and their interests into the green agricultural sector
  • Visit and lunch at Villa Flora in Green Business Park in Venlo
  • Visit pre-vet school Yuverta in Nederweert / Examples of Sustainable Building & Business policy of Yuverta
  • Food, Life and Innovation Program of Terra presented by students
  • Yuverta Sustainable Vision & Strategy presented
  • Visit and presentation by students in Nature Reserve Breidberg in Roermond (outdoor program)
  • Launching of our own podcast series by Green Academy in Denmark (see homepage)
  • Presentation of one example of a good practice by the other parrtners

Next time we meet again in Spain at Centro Integrado de Formación
experiencias Agrarias De Molina de Segura!

Students & Target Groups The Netherlands

Research “NO DEAL”

Below you can read a summary of a preliminary study that was conducted by Frens Schuring of Terra on the basis of the significant differences between the number of intakes taken and the number of students actually enrolled.

The issue

Before the start of the 2020-2021 school year, 1167 students followed an intake for a study (new students) or further study (internal transfer students) at Terra. The October 1 2020 census shows that 841 students have actually entered into an education agreement with Terra. This means that 28% did not choose Terra: 27% of the new students did not start and 34% of the potential internal transfer students are no longer associated with Terra. That is a significant percentage and it raises the question of why this is the case.

Further research shows that a 100% score is not possible. Some students want a training at a specific location that is not offered there. Other students apply for a study, even though they do not have a diploma of the required prior education. Better information about what is possible and what the admission requirements are, can remedy this. But the vast majority of them are place-able students who, for reasons that we do not yet know enough, decide not to enter the program of Terra.

Student research non-starters

It also raises the question of what Terra could and should do to bring this percentage down. This requires research among non-starters.

Questions you may ask them are:

  • Are you currently registered with a school? If so, at which school?
  • If question 1 is answered with yes: which study do you follow at this school (field)?
  • What are the main reasons why you did not choose to study at Terra?
  • What could Terra improve on the intake?
  • What could Terra have done to get you to study with Terra now?

What could be the possible outcome of the answers to the questions?

  • Content wise: in view of the interest shown by non-starters, where do their preferences lie and can we take this into account in our courses (and optional components)? How do we make our curricula more attractive?
  • Content wise: what do the schools, that the non-starters have chosen, including neighboring AOCs, do better and what can Terra learn from that?
  • Execution: how can Terra adapt the form in which education is offered in such a way that it allows non-starters to start a training at Terra? Think of the whole range of LLL options: new vocational training pathways (BBL), part-time education for adults, course education and tailor-made programs.

Characteristics of the non-starting students

The following is about potential students who ultimately did not start. The internal transferors have not (yet) been studied due to the lack of (reliable) lists.

On average 19 years old

Compared to the regular intake, the qualified prevocational student of 16.5 years old, it is striking that the non-starters are on average 2.5 years older. The average age of the non-starter is 19 years. The population contains more than average:

  • Students who took longer to complete the preliminary phase;
  • Students who have not already completed one or more (VET) further education courses;
  • Older potential students, who have a job but are considering a career switch.

Are these exactly the categories that are critically treated during the intake at locations where the attention for the educational results is high?

Late applicants

About 40% of the non-starting new students show interest at unusual times of the year. The majority of these 40% are interested in the months of May to September. It is known that relatively many of the late applicants terminate their studies early. Last in, first out. Late registration suggests that these are students who have doubts about what they want or who are critical of the organization with which they enter into a contract. In both cases this means – if an education agreement is reached – that a relationship is started that is not strong.

How to proceed?

For the future, it is desirable to carry out the survey annually, earlier and closer to the source. The group of non-starters is questioned every year, but this does not include the above questions. In addition, it is not mandatory to complete the questionnaire presented to non-starters. How can Terra approach this in a smarter way and who will actively get involved in getting as many answers as possible?


Questionaire Research No Deal

Countries Curriculum & Program Finland

MultiPro Module in Finland

MultiPro is an international Bachelor level multidisciplinary study module at Iisalmi campus of Savonia University of Applied Sciences Ltd in Finland. It offers lectures, teamwork, eLearning, traineeship and project studies. The module is especially developed for bachelor exchange students in Social Services, Nursing and Agriculture from Savonia partner universities.  More specific information and a nice video about MultiPro can be found through the following link: MultiPro.


PROGRESS Need Analysis

As one of the first steps in the project partners started to work on a need analysis based on the Whole School Approach to Sustainable Development. A Need Analysis Model, which was developed by our partner INTREEGUE, helped them to start thinking about their needs.   This model can be found here.

The first results of this need analysis was presented and discussed during an online meeting in April. These results will be used as our starting point for collecting Good Practices.

Summary of issues addressed in the need analysis

Students & Characteristics

  • Needs of (new) students:  drives, needs, beliefs, expectations (realistic?) , motives, interests.
  • Needs of specific target groups like migrants, international, older students, ..
  • Focus on how to attract “stronger” students in the future. Decrease of drop outs.
  • Needs and awareness of students to become more sustainable.
  • Students interests and expectations to the school portfolio of degrees.

Communication & Marketing

  • Showing the right picture when recruiting students.
  • Innovative recruiting and marketing methods.
  • Promotion of the VET institutions and companies. VET campaign.
  • Involvement of companies in recruitment.
  • Students as ambassadors.
  • Sharing good stories.
  • Market research to get insight into the drives and needs of students.

Curriculum & Didactics

  • We need proper pedagogical tools and skills for online teaching and web based learning. There should be more interactivity in teaching. We should also find new ways how to teach practical skills online or in a digital way. Also how to facilitate guidance online.
  • Renewal of the curriculum, to develop something unique to attract new students.
  • Future scenario where students support students.
  • Better help for students (mentors, role models etc.).
  • Companies’ active participation in competition open to public (skills).
  • Sustainability is not really integrated in our programmes. Teachers want to incorporate it in social science program.
  • Social inclusion issues.
  • We need more resources and new didactic methodologies.

School Environment & Cooperation

Cooperation with other schools

  • Cooperation with other school levels to increase the inflow of students.
  • What can we learn from the strategies of higher education and universities?
  • Increase the cooperation with primary schools e.g. use VET teachers in primary school, making more projects together, making open courses (for example about biodiversity) and inviting pupils from local primary schools to take the course together with our basic course students (boundary crossing). We should involve the companies in this context as well.
  • More cooperation and coordination, also within our own school.

Cooperation with companies

  • How to follow the changes in the society and work life.
  • Improving cooperation with companies.
  • Far more involvement of the companies in the different offers/courses that we provide to the elementary schools.
  • Limited skills and knowledge exchange among teachers/companies/advisers. Teachers should visit companies more often.
  • Until what point is sustainability a reality of society? The labor market are at the starting point of this future society.

Professional development

  • Courses for the teachers about new technologies in Education.
  • Teacher´s participation in innovative projects.
  • Teachers should be more open minded to a broader view of their profession and teaching methods (crossover project).
  • Some of our personnel is not really into sustainability. They are not driven by it.
  • Professional development of teachers towards a more open minded attitude.
  • Training of new didactic methodologies.

Overall Conclusions Need Analysis

By looking at this summary we can abstract some overall conclusions that can guide us in our search for Good Practices and will help us to define the focus of the Good Practices we want to collect as inspiration for attracting more students and new target groups through the development and innovation of the school towards more sustainable schools.  

  1. It is remarkable that business operations doesn’t seem to be a big issue for the partners although this is an important factor if you take into account that schools need “to practice what they preach”. Otherwise they will not be very credible for new students. For example when a school is incorporating all kinds of sustainable or innovative principals and skills in their programs like circular skills it is also important that the school is incorporating these kind of principles in their own business operations related to for example food and  raw materials.  The same should be taking into account related to renewal of energy supplies, water supplies, mobility, biodiversity etc…
  2. All partners have questions about the drives and interests of their students and potential target groups. Their seems to be a great need for Good practices of research to get more insight into the needs of of students (both for initial programs, lifelong learning programs and international programs).
  3. Partners are also interested in new marketing and recruiting methods to reach out for new target groups on national and international level.
  4. All partners are working on the renewal of their school programs to fit the actual needs of the job market and society and new target groups and are searching for inspirational examples of other schools to help them with this renewal. Good practices are needed related to both the new skills and content as the resources for the programs and innovative didactic an pedagogic methods and tools.
  5. All partners are also aware of the need to strengthen their relationship with companies and educational institutes in their school environment. This is important for the schools to adapt their school programs and methodologies and to attract more students that will not drop out.  
  6. Professional development is also an issue, but is directly connected with renewal the program and cooperation with the school environment. Developing towards a more open minded and outward facing flexible attitude and mindset seems to be a major starting point for this professional development of teachers.
Countries Curriculum & Program Spain

Cultural week “To your health”

In the last course, the CIFEA DE MOLINA in Spain organized a cultural week with the topic “to your health”. Our objective was to attract the students´ interest in food technology, healthy alimentation and Foodtopia, another way to understand the sustainability in the production of dishes. That week all students and teachers had an innovation experience, knowing how we must feed in three important aspects, food composition, food technology and food sustainability.

Every day we are eating, and this activity is important for personal and social development and has consequences for the environment. Foodtopia is the idea of a new concept in alimentation, using vegetables out of commercial categories but with all standards of quality. Are you sure that you need a marvellous pepper or could be enough one with some commercial faults? How many vegetables do we need to take out the rubbish? Is your salad to eat or to see?

With the dissemination of this week, we had the opportunity to increase our impact on the local and regional society. This is an example of good practices understanding how the school is a part of the sustainable society and world. We do not need more we have enough to live.

The full presentation about this initiative: VIEW PRESENTATION

Countries Curriculum & Program The Netherlands

Terra MBO students win the impact price for green education

With their project ‘Veldboon’, first-year students of the Food, Life & Innovation program of Terra MBO won the Impact Prize for Green Education 2020 on Thursday the 4th of March. They have won a cash prize of 2500 euros. The Impact Prize is for innovative projects, research and startups that in one way or another have a positive impact on food, climate and/ or quality of life.

Project Veldboon

The Terra MBO students were nominated for the Veldboon project. The veldboon (field bean) is an old crop that is currently very popular with growers in the province of Groningen. This protein-rich product is not widely used for human consumption, although this could be possible. The students from Terra got to work with it and made a field bean paste, a field base (pizza base) and a tasty dip sauce. The amount of money won will be used to market the products made.

Live stream broadcast

The winners were announced on Thursday 4 March during the live stream broadcast Jongeren aan Zet Live! Guests who sat at the table included Frans Timmermans (Vice-President for the European Green Deal in the European Commission) and outgoing Minister Carola Schouten (LNV/ Ministry of agriculture, nature and fishing). They talked to representatives from the green sector, education and a number of young people who follow a training in green. Students Geertje Kanter from Terra Groningen and Gerjan Zwaan from Terra Emmen were present.

Link: GroenPact winners 2020

About the training

The Food, Life & Innovation course is based on the ‘From soil to mouth’ idea. Information about healthy and sustainable food, origin, food chains and trends are the most important pillars. To teach students skills and to gain experience, they mainly work in practice. The content of the Food, Life & Innovation course is built around practical issues, which is unique in education.

It is not the first time that the program has won awards. The course, which started in 2019, won a first prize in the same year during the MBO Challenge against Food Waste. In 2020 they won the public award of Good Practices Sustainable MBO 2020 with the Food Youth Council. This indicates that this program responds well to issues from contemporary society.

Countries Curriculum & Program The Netherlands

Youth Food Council

The very first food youth council in the Netherlands has been installed. Fifteen youngsters from the (pre-) VET from the north of the Netherlands will be working on issues
related to sustainability and health within the theme of food. They give young people a voice towards policy makers and administrators. 
Making a difference with the food youth council:


Imagine, you have a voice to change something in the future in terms of food. You think the food chain needs to be changed and you also have ideas about this. It’s nice  that you can indeed share your ideas. That’s why we joined the food youth council.


The story

‘In the summer of 2020 we were approached by Anita van der Noord*. An experienced and fanatical politician who is committed to young people. Anita had only one goal:
to give young people a voice! Anita shared her mission and vision, she wanted to establish a youth food council. For this she sought the first members of the council. The first members were we, Jelien and Femke, along with two others. We immediately envisioned how we could change a number of food issues.

But why, why did we immediately get excited? We were often asked this question. Femke said: “Meeting new people with the same ambition. I do my best to make my voice heard.” And Jelien said: “I like talking to people who are in a position to actually make the change.” Then our adventure with the food youth council began.

Of course, we had to strengthen our council. In order to inform and enthuse more young people, to make their voices heard in the field of food, we visited several
schools. We have now formed a strong and beautiful council with each other.

Friday 9 October 2020 was a big day for us, as it was the official opening of the council. We entered into a dialogue with each other and various experts in the field of
nutrition (including policy officers, growers, farmers and the mayor). We immediately made our voices heard and said what we stand for. We were very
noticed then and were taken seriously. As a result, we have brought in a number of issues.

Because the first food youth council in the Netherlands had started, it is important to immediately make an impression, say what you stand for and to be taken seriously. To get
more publicity, the entire start-up of the council was filmed by a documentary maker.

After October 9, things went fast. We were invited to several radio stations. We were allowed to tell our story there. And if that wasn’t enough, we were nominated for the SustainaBUL VET audience award. The tension was to die for. On the day of the final we were neck and neck with another contestant. At the last minute we had
a lead and this resulted in a victory.

WOW, no one expected that! Several issues have been completed. The municipality of Groningen has even asked if we want to remain involved in their food agenda and to give our opinion. We couldn’t have wished for a better start”.

Suppose you have read this story and you want to set up something similar in your country. How do you handle that then?

Search for election manifestos of political parties and find the people who get a lot of publicity because of their attention to the SDGs. Invite that person(s) to your school and tell them what you want (using the above story as an example). Suppose that politician also sees something in the idea and goes to work with it…. Then you can also mean something in the field of food!

*Council member GroenLinks (a Dutch political party), regional coordinator SDG Netherlands (provinces of Drenthe and Groningen), director of the New Lifestyle Foundation, chairman
of the Child and Nutrition Foundation.

Further reading

Contact info Youth Food council




Project started

As a result of COVID we couldn’t meet each other face-to-face. Therefor the project started during the first week of december with an online meeting of the partners in which they presented themselves. Every partner presented their institute, their main goals considering the project and a project they are very proud off .

This was a good way to meet each other and start the exchange of innovative practices, while this is one of the main actvities of the project. During the project we will discuss and exchange these good practises in more detail to obtain the main goals of the project: to attract more students and other target groups by renewal of the curriculum considering the Sustainable Development Goals.

The following projects were presented:

  • Terra – Netherlands – Regional learning and Food Council of Young People
  • Green Academy – Denmark – European Platform Urban Greening
  • CITAVERDE – Netherlands -Marketing automation software
  • SAVONIA – Finland -ERDI Empowering Regional Development and Innovations and MultiPro Module for Future Professionals
  • CIFEA – Spain – International Development Cooperation and Sustainable Food Production and consumption
  • INTREEGUE – Netherlands -Cooperative benchmark SustsainaBul VET

Main Instutional goals :

  • Renewed vision and strategy of our institute for more studente, opportunities and perspective
  • To reach new target groups and broaden the type of students
  • To attract more learners
  • Exchange of innovative practices
  • To get inspired and bring inspriation to the partners
  • To become a sustainable organization in more than one way
  • To meet new people and partnes
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