Students at Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen, from all disciplines, are significantly better digitally proficient and prepared for a job thanks to knowledge of the latest digital facilities in their field. When they get a job after their studies, they can also take their business further in the digital field: know the different knowledge disciplines of digitalisation. The fact that they are now well equipped digitally is partly due to an institution under the University of Hanze on the Zernike Campus, which is celebrating its five-year anniversary this year: the Digital Society Hub.
Digital Society Hub (DSH) has in collaboration with the subject area collected digitization within Hanze University College in the five years it has existed. Because thanks to this innovation workshop, students now learn to handle different digitization tasks for use in their field. They do this in close collaboration with companies and organizations that provide research assignments to the students. Companies are also located in the DSH building, so that contacts are created in a natural way between students, companies, researchers and governments.
Started with recycled furniture
“When we started five years ago, we had a global plan, no plan and no fixed plans. However, we were convinced that students, if they want a job, should also be able to use digital in these times. With that in thoughts we started in an emergency room, with recycled furniture.Since then we have grown enormously, also thanks to a good collaboration with companies and all fields of study here.I think the Digital Society Hub is now a unique facility in Dutch education, which ensures “that students from Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen have the latest digital knowledge and experience,” says Roland Hiemstra, who was quartermaster and current director.
DSH started five years ago with a few students, now there are 900 a year. These are students from different fields who are learning to apply digitization in their own field: from technology and energy to communication. The Digital Society Hub now has strategic partners to provide students with the best possible support.
DSH is now optimally arranged in a large building, where students and companies can work together permanently. Organizations that have a workplace there include DUO, Police, RDW, ICT companies and others.
DSH is now of great value not only for Hanze University College, but also for northern companies. They can submit research assignments to DSH, which will investigate whether there are students who can perform it. There is a chance that these students will be able to work for such a company after their studies. In short: DSH helps to ensure that graduates in Groningen can get started with their digital knowledge immediately.
Now central place within Hanze University College
Five years ago, there were two reasons for establishing Hanze University College. On the one hand, the ever-increasing digitalisation of society. In addition, Hanze University College wanted to connect all Hanze courses, research and organizations in the academic field better, so that students can do all kinds of research assignments.
The focus on digitization at Hanze University College is not temporary, but it has been agreed that the students will all spend some time in a ‘hub’ or innovation workshop. This gives students more hands-on and digital experience. And digital transformation is now also a societal task within Hanze University College.
“The Digital Society Hub has now become the central place within Hanze University College, where companies, educations and students meet, and which ensures the digital transformation of education. That we now fill this role is due to a good collaboration with our partners. But also because we have been given the freedom by Hanze University to develop our already functioning path, through trial and error ‘, says Hiemstra.
Digital transformation is now also a societal task within Hanze University College.
Working and learning together now
According to him, perhaps the most important success factor is that companies and education are brought together under one roof. This means that companies and students get to know each other, and then you can work better together. The fact that the students get a combination of work and learning there also proves to be very useful.
“What I am most proud of is that we have all achieved this together. And that we work with so many people, with such a large network. It also makes me happy when companies based here tell us that they think it is such an inspiring environment, ”says Roland.
All in all, thanks to DSH, Hanze University College also contributes to employment in the Nordic region. For the chance that they will find a job in the Nordics, or even on the Zernike Campus, where many companies are located, is significantly greater thanks to their digital knowledge and experience. “With this, we also implement a social task for Hanzehøjskolen”.
Education in the future under one roof with government and companies
Roland Hiemstra can not say exactly what the future holds for education. But he knows very well: “The future of education, together with the government and companies, is under one roof. In all our future educational buildings, professionals from the field, students, teachers and researchers work together on joint projects. This is the only way to keep up with technological developments and invite new organizations to collaborate on new research tasks. ”