X!LEAD Innovation Programme

Lead. Engineer. Accelerate. Disrupt.

Are you a (soon to be) MSc graduate? Are you ambitious, do you like to work on major societal challenges of the future, and do you want to kickstart a career centred on innovation at a start-up and a corporate? Then the X!LEAD Programme is for you!

What is it?

In the X!LEAD programme, young technical graduates are presented with an opportunity to develop themselves into innovation leaders who see and set the trends of the future of society. In two periods of 6 and 12 months, you will be working at a start-up and an international corporate respectively, being placed right in the middle of the action and seeing first-hand what it means to disrupt and innovate a business market. At the same time, you will follow a training trajectory with key technological knowledge essential for upcoming innovation professionals, courses and coaching sessions on personal leadership and relevant training on consultancy skills.

What makes this programme different is its unique focus on innovation, and the role technology plays herein. Participants are challenged to engineer solutions to problems companies might not even realise exist. Learn what it takes to implement disruptive business models and successfully guide an organisation through such a transition process, and accelerate innovation today.

Who is it for?

The ideal candidate for the X!LEAD Programme possesses the following traits:

  • An entrepreneurial spirit, not afraid to push the boundaries
  • Perseverance, can handle pressure
  • Teamplayer who understands the value of collaboration
  • Willing to travel (in the Netherlands)
  • Positive attitude, focused on solution-based thinking
  • A natural curiosity, interested in innovation

If you want to apply to the X!LEAD Programme, there are some requirements you need to meet:

  • You are in the possession of a master’s degree of a member of the 4TU network (TU Delft, TU/e, UT, WUR)
  • You have a professional working knowledge of English, professional working knowledge of Dutch is an asset
  • You have legal eligibility to work in the Netherlands for the duration of the programme
  • Working knowledge of Python (or other programming language) is not required, but is a plus

What will you do?

In this programme, you will

  • Gain experience at both a start-up and a large international company
  • Learn and work at the same time
  • See first-hand how each organisation operates
  • Develop and carry out innovative projects using new technologies and business models
  • Follow our X!LEAD development programme


At a start-up, no two days are the same. Here, life is fast-paced, and you will be a full employee joining a start-up as they are in the process of launching a particular product or service. Learn what it takes to succesfully pitch an idea to investors, transfer from concept to reality, and set up an organisation and keep it running.



Large international companies are constantly looking for new and innovative models to reinvent their business. Over the course of twelve months, you will be working at one of X!LEAD Partners, such as Heineken, Nouryon, or VolkerWessels. Receive addiitional information approximately best online casinos. Here you will be able to set your teeth into a larger project where you get to apply all you have learned so far in the programme and work towards realizing innovation within a corporation.

Men and women talking in modern office

Our X!LEAD development programme

The X!LEAD development programme is a central programme that provides essential training on key technological knowledge, innovation skills, personal development and business skills. At the beginning of every six months, we provide courses and coaching on personal leadership to enlarge your impact as a young professional. During these weeks, we further develop your skillset to disrupt innovation and offer training on key tech developments such as Robotics, AI, and ethics in design. Under guidance from Roland Berger Consulting, we equip you with relevant training on consultancy skills to accelerate your performance.


What do we offer?

In this traineeship, we train highly-skilled employees for the future, who are not afraid to think outside the treaded paths and see opportunities where others might see risks. We offer you the opportunity to actively engage in thinking about the society of the future and what that will look like.


Throughout the X!LEAD programme, you will follow our X!LEAD development programme that focuses on the following 4 main areas:

  • Personal skills – explore your (inter)personal strengths and weaknesses, develop your
  • Technical skills – broaden your deep technological skills through further lectures by experts from the TU Delft
  • Business skills – gain insight into how business models and their drivers are influenced by new technologies
  • Innovation skills – learn what it truly means to ‘innovate’, and how you can move organisations towards disruptive innovation

To develop these skills, we offer the following: 

  • Your own career coach
  • An interactive training trajectory
  • Regular meetings with the partners in the X!Delft ecosystem through for example speeddates, company visits, pitch events

The programme begins with a bootcamp where you will get to know your fellow Innovation LEADers, be introduced to your career coach, and learn more about the structure of the programme.

Salary and benefits

  • You will receive a 1.5-year contract
  • There will be an equal salary for all participants:
    • € 2.050,- per month during the start-up period
    • € 2.800,- per month during the corporate period

NB: Above salaries are gross income per month

After the traineeship

Upon successful completion of the programme, you are equipped with the necessary skillset and work experience to start your career in technological innovation. Based on your performance during the programme, you may be offered a position at any of the organisations within the X!LEAD partner network. You also become a part of the X!LEADers Community, providing you with an exclusive network of innovative thinkers.

Planning 2020/2021

Application Period                             Until January 7th, 2021

1st selection Round                           3rd week of January 2021

2nd selection round                           4th week of January 2021

Start traineeship                                March 2021

More information

Do you have a question about the programme or the application process? Send an e-mail to lead.corporate-innovation@tudelft.nl.

The 2021 LEAD Programme features the following partners and collaborators:

Applications closed

The application deadline for our 2021 edition is closed.

Are you interested in joining the X!LEAD Programme? Follow us on Linkedin for regular updates, or contact us at lead@xdelft.nl if you want to stay informed about new editions.