The total World Horti Center is approximately 20,000m2. The new location of Demokwekerij Westland, with its 40 research departments, occupies about 6,500m2. The central building is 9,000m2 and here is the joint entrance for all parties. A spacious staircase leads to the first floor. In addition to the central building, the premises and facilities of MBO Westland, a total of 4,000 m2, consist of 40 classrooms. The 1,200 to 1,300 students of MBO Westland (Lentiz, Albeda and Mondriaan) can choose from 22 different courses in retail, business, trade and logistics, engineering, green, care and food. MBO education is provided at all levels. The knowledge and innovation center creates a unique collaboration and knowledge development between students, suppliers, growers, researchers and visitors. In many areas, this is because of the physical gathering, this will get more frequent, stronger and closer. The 'bubbly brains' in the building form the breeding ground of the international greenhouse horticulture sector. Major social issues are being pursued, such as water, food supply, food safety, well-being and sustainability. And all that on three levels; research, education and exhibition. These levels also overlap in the many facilities and spaces that the center offers. According to Peet van Adrichem, Managing Director of Demokwekerij Westland, the complex will play a major role in the translation of what greenhouse companies and suppliers are concerned with and what students should know and be able to do about it. The "nursery room" of greenhouse horticulture must be perfect in practice. "In addition, students can help greenhouse horticulture in a variety of ways with its global issues. The knife cuts on two sides. Business is being helped and students have interesting assignments. "The director believes that the MBO students, but also collaborations with, among others, the Hague University and InHolland students within the knowledge and innovation center, are the key to accelerated innovation in greenhouse horticulture.
Companies are involved in developing courses
Bert de Jong, director of MBO Westland, also sees many advantages to be "as close to the fire" as a trainer. It gives an acceleration to improving our education. For example, MBO Westland works together with business in developing two new courses ('Masters of Food' and 'Green Mechatronics') and two existing courses ('Trade and Logistics' and 'Cultivation Training'). About 75 companies - of which most active in the horticulture sector - contribute significantly to the continued renewal of the content, but also to the implementation of these studies. These companies often host and participate in World Horti Center. For example, Koppert Cress, Metazet, Dutch Flower Group, Priva, SPX Nature's Pride, as well as Hofland van Geest Sportbegeleiding will participate in the development of new study material in the next four years, and will assist in the implementation of practical assignments. They each invest 100 to 160 hours in this development. The new courses 'Masters of Food' and 'Mechatronics' will start in World Horti Center for the first time in September 2017. The MBO director notes that entrepreneurs realize that it is becoming a problem to get qualified employees. Therefore, they are looking forward to active connection and commitment to education. In turn, De Jong also sees business interfering in the form and content of education. "This is how it is increasingly felt like an education of itself. This gives us the assurance that we are training people who are needed by companies and institutions in the future. "Demokwekerij Westland is often involved in the content of education. De Jong: "Demokwekerij Westland is the most important conversation partner, for example, when it comes to innovative techniques and cultivation processes and how to handle them manageably in a particular educational form."
Discussion and dynamics
It is expected that the building attracts approximately 25,000 trade visitors annually. This target group varies from national and international growers, investors, suppliers to a wide range of customers, such as retailers. The strength of the project is that these people meet each other in the many features that the building knows. Van Adrichem: "The main advantage of the center is that all information about the latest innovations and developments in greenhouse horticulture can be found here. See it as the furniture boulevard for international greenhouse horticulture. "But what can a visitor expect exactly? On the ground floor there is a spacious entrance hall with an exhibition space of about 2,000 m2. There are about 65 participants of Demokwerij Westland. They present themselves on the exhibition floor by theme; greenhouse structures, crop systems & logistics, energy & climate, cultivation equipment and services & consultancy. There is also an office garden with approximately 25 workplaces, about 12 participants renting a workplace and there is a small office. But the intention is not that people lock themselves up in their own offices, says Van Adrichem. "If different parties working who specialize in different disciplines work together in one office garden, that creates the right discussion and dynamics. This can result in synergy and accelerate ideas and innovations. "Additionally, people working in a office garden are easily approachable to the center's visitors".