Students and work field need each other for those 70,000 jobs in IT and engineering

The business world has a huge need for IT and technical talent. The Fontys ICT InnovationLab at Strijp TQ responds to this with (talent-oriented) education, research and practical issues. Education manager Sandra Verhoeven and study advisor Yvonne Derksen tell more about it.

Characteristic within the ICT InnovationLab is the open and flexible education. In fact, students, lecturers and business professionals criss-cross here every day. 'The lines are short here,' Yvonne explains. 'By working together, students and companies come up with new solutions to existing problems. This allows Fontys to respond directly to what the work field needs.'

In the Brainport region alone, 70,000 jobs are forecast to be available in 2032 in the field of engineering and ICT. Sandra: 'It is therefore important to link the work field to education. This way, students are informed about the lightning-fast developments and innovations of companies and the work field in turn learns from the students' applied research.'

Talent-oriented education
Students work on a research topic directly from practice. 'This form of education requires a lot of independence, which sometimes takes some getting used to. But once they get the hang of it, they are unstoppable', says Yvonne. The connection between education and research also contributes to talent-oriented education. According to Sandra and Yvonne, the key to success therefore lies in teaching students effective learning strategies. 'This allows them to continuously adapt and raise their profile as professionals.'

As a kind of bridge between Fontys and the business world, the foundation SPARC was set up. It is an association of independent (ICT) companies that have bundled their innovative strength in SPARC. The cooperative works with lecturers, teachers and students of Fontys University of Applied Sciences ICT on research and experimentation in the Fontys ICT InnovationLab. The goal? Yvonne: 'To initiate and accelerate ICT-related innovations. SPARC members contribute research proposals that are carried out as applied research within an educational context. This is unique and both parties benefit. Students gain experience and employers learn from applied research. After all, for students and the work field: you need each other for those 70,000 jobs.'

Keep learning
The ultimate goal of the ICT InnovationLab according to Yvonne and Sandra? 'To bind students to us from the start of their studies throughout their careers. You never stop learning. ICT innovations happen so quickly that, as an ICT professional, you have no choice but to continuously retrain or upskill. Even some of our lecturers follow parts of the part-time study programme or Accelerate IT. So you see how students and professionals interact.'

Want to experience the dynamics of the ICT InnovationLab? Don't hesitate to drop by. Are you interested in joining SPARC? You can find all the information on the website!

Website SPARC