6 September 2019 • Tim Hoppen
PEETS Project awarded prize for teaching excellence
In 2016, Jantien Belt and Tim Hoppen (BFM, Marketing degree programme) received an Erasmus+ subsidy for the so-called PEETS Project.
PEETS (which stands for Promoting Excellence in Employability and Transversal Skills) is an international, intercultural and interdisciplinary project set up in partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University, Constructionarium Scotland (both in Scotland) and LAMK, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, in Finland. PEETS is all about sustainable energy and its specific aim is to stimulate the development of skills, thereby promoting the employability of students.
PEETS is structured according to a didactic pattern. Each version starts with assignments, where students, in groups of three, carry out research in their own countries into sustainable energy and the skills employers are looking for in future employees. They place this information on a digital platform. Each year the project is concluded with an intensive study period of 10 days during which the students receive various realistic assignments and are subjected to challenges, for which they need the information the other students have placed on the digital platform. There are also lectures, role plays, company visits and cultural exchanges. Furthermore, students are forced out of their comfort zones and have to work together under pressure, communicate, solve problems, be flexible and demonstrate their ability to adapt.
Thirty-nine students and seven staff members began working on the project in March 2017. The theme at the time was wind energy. In June 2017, the intensive study period took place in Glasgow and included a visit to a wind farm and a reservoir. The students were also involved in the planning, design and construction of an actual wind turbine.
The second year of PEETS focused on solar energy. During the intensive study period in Finland, 42 (other) students built a solar panel and drew up a plan to market this in a village in Kenya to provide the inhabitants with a simple and accessible way of charging their mobile phones. There were also company visits to ABB and a waste processing company.
2019: The Netherlands
Last year was the third and final edition of PEETS, in the Netherlands. Students carried out research in neighbourhoods in The Hague aimed at providing communication advice to the Stichting Duurzaam Den Haag (Sustainable The Hague Foundation) about how residents could help accelerate the energy transition. Students also worked on Ameland on constructing a water pump that residents could use to pump water out of cellars that had flooded due to extreme rainfall.
Research was also conducted among the students each year. One of the things they were subjected to was a 0- and 1-measurement to establish which skills had been developed. Furthermore, a feedback tool was developed enabling students to measure their own skills and to invite others to evaluate them. A survey showed that students are very satisfied with PEETS.
The project did not go unnoticed. On 5 August 2019, the PEETS Project was awarded the prestigious British CATE (Collaboration Award for Teaching Excellence). The jury called the project ‘ground breaking (…) giving students unique and valuable international learning (and life changing) experiences.’ They further praised the project as ‘an innovative model for other international collaborators between students and staff in several different international universities and industrial partners which enriches the employability prospects of students and the career experiences of staff (…).’
Go to www.peets-project.eu for more information. The official award ceremony will be held in Manchester on 16 October 2019.