Aeres Tech was established in 2016, following a series of mergers between existing Dutch training centres. Below, we explain how the Second World War formed the catalyst for a tradition of practical training in the Netherlands, and how this tradition ultimately led to the excellent institution that Aeres Tech is today.
The history of Aeres Tech begins shortly after World War II, when the Dutch government wanted to ensure the Netherlands had an autonomous food supply. This meant accelerating the mechanisation of agriculture and the intensification of the livestock industry in order to increase output quickly. Because it would be too expensive to provide each school with its own vehicles and installations, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Supply, Sicco Mansholt, decided to establish agrarian practical training centres.
These centres were intended to provide practical training to support the theoretical education of the junior secondary and senior secondary agrarian schools. Since the establishment of these centres, Dutch agrarian students have attended them one week a year to acquire practical knowledge.
Eleven practical centres were created in the 1950s and 1960s:
• Oenkerk - dairy farming
• Almelo - pigs and poultry farming
• Barneveld - pigs and poultry farming
• Horst - pigs and poultry farming
• Deurne - horse management
• Schoondijke - arable farming
• Emmeloord (former Northeast Polder) - arable farming
• Ede - horticultural engineering
• Ede - agricultural engineering
• Horst - mushroom growing
• Schaarsbergen - forestry
The 1960s and 1970s
The practical centres were restructured in the 1960s and 1970s, and began to flourish. The level of education in the Netherlands improved and food production was no longer threatened with shortages.
During this period, many practical centres expanded their activities, partly with the support of practical research. In the early 1970s, the first international students also began arriving, predominantly from Africa, the Far East and Central America. They combined study at agrarian schools with training programmes run at the practical centres. In 1972, the practical centre in Barneveld began offering open registration to international participants in 1971.
There were big changes in the 1980s - milk quotas were introduced for the first time in 1983, and the organisation that acted as an umbrella for the various practical centres expressed a further need for restructuring. This led to a dialogue with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and, in 1993, a large-scale restructuring programme was initiated. In the meantime, interest from abroad increased significantly - the practical centre in Oenkerk began enrolling international students in 1987 and changed its name to ‘Dairy Training Centre Oenkerk'. The practical centres in Ede merged and the Barneveld practical centre was converted into ‘Barneveld College.'
Various centres and colleges began merging to provide a more streamlined approach to training. The practical centre in Almelo closed in 1993 and the Deurne practical centre merged with the Agrarian Training Centre (AOC) Helicon. The other practical centres around the country merged into three new, independent organisations:
• IPC Animal (Oenkerk, Barneveld, Horst)
• IPC Plant (Emmeloord, Schoondijke, Ede, Horst)
• IPC Green Area (Schaarsbergen)
IPC stands for ‘Innovation and Practical Centre'. Although three organisations bore this name, they were fully independent of one another. When the Deurne practical centre merged with the AOC Helicon, this led to a growth in the number of Horse Management departments in the AOC's.
This decade was full of changes, Agricultural reorganisation proceeded at a rapid pace, and the government indicated that, in the long term, it intended to introduce competition from the private sector. In response, the managements of IPC Plant and IPC Animal decided to merge in order to jointly anticipate the introduction of free market forces. They boosted their competitiveness by introducing custom-made training programmes for the business community, and by participating in international research and development projects.
The merger between IPC Plant and IPC Animal took place in 2000, when the Schoondijke branch was closed and the practical centre for Mushroom Growing in Horst was made fully independent. The resulting organisation now had five branches:
The new organisation needed a new name. ‘IPC‘, which translated as ‘Innovation and Practical Centre', was considered unsuitable for the international market. Ultimately, the name ‘PTC' was chosen as it was felt that ‘Practical Training Centre' had more international appeal.
The prominent plus sign (+) was added in order to emphasise the added value delivered by every PTC training programme.
1999 to the present
Since 1999, PTC+ has been continuously busy attracting an increasing number of educational institutions, companies, organisations, private individuals and international students. There are two secrets to the success of PTC+: the expertise and professionalism of its trainers and the high standards of its facilities. In 2002 and 2003, we completely renovated the Horse Management facilities at Oenkerk and Barneveld respectively. In 2005, the Emmeloord location was closed and replaced by a modern equipped training complex in Dronten.
In that same year, we reorganised the Barneveld branch, where management and all supporting services are accommodated, and have given the Horst branch a complete face-lift. We also made major investments in high-quality facilities for new training programmes in retail and communication.
Since 2002, the Ede branch has had a multi-functional centre where we can accurately simulate shop-floor conditions. This location is also equipped with modern facilities for telephone and cash-register training and with practical areas for instruction in window-dressing.
The popularity of PTC+ among international students has been steadily increasing for thirty-five years. In 2004, the Ede branch followed the example set by Barneveld and Oenkerk, and opened registration to this important and valued target group.
After October 1st 2016 PTC+ Ede will have a new name: Aeres Tech. The name brings focus to the professional and forward-looking approach of Aeres Tech to everything concerning refrigeration and engineering. Next to that the name also underlines the coming together of the Aeres Group which stands for education, research and commercial activities.
Only PTC+ Ede becomes Aeres Tech
To be able to give Aeres Tech a clear personality the decision has been made to keep the focus on the technological advances and development in refrigeration and engineering. The PTC+ location in Horst has been sold last year and PTC+ Barneveld will continue under the name: “Aeres Cursus & Training.