2021 Annual Report: explanatory notes

Every year we provide a concise overview of our annual report, containing figures and links to the highlights. Here is a summary of the main developments at the Academy in 2021.

Shaping our vision on learning and development

In 2020 we set out our vision on learning and development and in 2021 we focused our energies on making it happen. Based on this vision, how can we help to make BZ a leading and relevant organisation in the international sphere by 2030? What does it actually mean for BZ to be a learning organisation? What is the current state of our learning potential in regard to what is already happening within the organisation, and where can we still encourage learning? We have moved ahead in each of our three roles. We are a strong Provider of learning activities. We also offer Platforms for knowledge networks, and we are a Compass that steers our ministry in the direction of necessary and relevant trends in learning and development.

The Academy as Provider

The Academy looks back on its second online learning year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Online learning was no longer new and evidently here to stay, so we invested in updating the IT infrastructure for remote learning. We also renewed the website to make our learning activities more accessible and began preparations for acquiring and implementing a new learning management system in 2022. In 2022 we will continue making online and hybrid learning more professional.

Figures for our learning activities in 2021:

The Academy as Platform

Our role as platform is less easy to illustrate with concrete examples because it is an integral part of everything we do. Learning from and with each other is key. In every learning activity organised in 2021, every conversation with other colleagues, course suppliers or fellow professionals in our field, we tried wherever possible to acquire, share and manage knowledge. Wherever we saw opportunities, we worked to enlarge the BZ learning network. In the future, we would like these efforts to be supported by an actual, online platform.

Policy & Science Committee

The Academy is also represented on the Policy & Science Committee by its Head, Mirella van de Noort. Every year, the committee grants up to two BZ staff members one year of research leave for combining work at BZ with doctoral research. In 2021, research leave was granted to several applicants.

The Academy as Compass

In our role as learning compass we steer our ministry in the direction of necessary and relevant trends in learning and development, and we promote an open learning climate. The Academy cannot create an effective learning climate on its own. That is the collective responsibility of the organisation as a whole. Collaboration with both internal and external partners is essential. Within BZ, this means being more closely involved in the transition of our Human Resources department (HDPO). In 2021 we actively participated in the transition sessions, especially with a view to embedding learning and development in HR policy as effectively as possible. Outside our own ministry, we stepped up our partnership with the Ministry of Defence. Both sides see scope for making their learning activities accessible to staff from both ministries. Examples include certain modules from the training programme for new policy officers at BZ (IBBZ), the Strategic Foresight programme, or public lecture series. Target date: 2022.

In the context of interministerial collaboration in 2021, we also worked closely with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. We jointly developed a quick reference guide to learning activities to support mutual exchange of knowledge and experience among civil servants with economic roles working in an international context.

Operational management in brief

  • Staff establishment
    Our team grew in 2021 from 19 to 23 full-time equivalents. The male-female balance remained roughly the same: the percentage of women dropped from 62.5% to 60% (and conversely the percentage of men increased from 37.5% to 40 %).
  • Finances
    The Academy’s budget for 2021 was €3,250,000. Our income from course fees was €120,600. In 2021 our expenditure was €3,334,483, so we underspent by €36,117.
  • Social media
    In 2021 we significantly enhanced our social media presence on LinkedIn, which gave us 16% more followers, and 71,000 views to 46 posts. Despite the minimum capacity for Twitter (only 11 tweets) our followers increased by 19%. We have no reliable data on views or visitor numbers for our new website.

If you have any questions about our report or would like additional information, please contact us. We would be happy to provide additional information or figures where possible.