Milestone for Fontys ICT University Tilburg: the 500th student has enrolled

Fontys School of ICT

Midpoint region needs a sufficient number of properly trained ICT people

On Monday 2 September 2019, Fontys ICT Tilburg celebrated a small milestone: the 500th student had enrolled. Currently, over 500 students follow the HBO-ICT programme at the Stappegoor campus. What once began as a way to accommodate the enormous demand for qualified ICT personnel in the Midpoint region, is now in 2019 the home base for both students and colleagues in a close collaboration with the business community. The small, intimate personal approach of this location along with the short lines of communication is what makes this student-oriented programme flourish. This unique quality is closely guarded so that it also stays intact during the expected growth in the future. This is how Fontys ICT University Tilburg fulfils the need of the Midpoint region for highly qualified ICT professionals.

Full-fledged location with its own identity
The HBO ICT programme has developed into a full-fledged location with its own identity. Enthusiasm for the ICT field coupled with personal contact and an informal setting characterise the programme in Tilburg. Frens Vonken, coordinator at the Tilburg location, adds: “We started with only a handful of students in another programme’s classroom and we sometimes even had to look for other premises that belonged to the city of Tilburg. Finally, we were given our own temporary building and then we moved into the P2 building on the Stappegoor campus. At that time, after their first year, students could only continue in Tilburg with the ICT & Media Design and ICT & Software Engineering programmes. Today, students can choose from the entire ICT spectrum, this year we are offering the broad Associate Degree HBO 2-year programme, we have formed a successful collaboration with the ROC, the first research projects have begun and we are working closely with a large number of firms as “Partners in Education”.

Dick Philippi, ICT & Media Design instructor and coordinator of the Partners in Education can confirm this. “I can look back on a number of really remarkable years. The team of instructors growing from just a few to well over twenty today. Going from just a handful of students to the milestone of well over 500 today ...and still growing! Thanks to its small scale, student-oriented education is preserved. 

Coming home to Tilburg 
Students often make a very conscious decision when they choose the Tilburg location. Alumnus Kim Jooss is happy to explain: “I really enjoyed going to school there. It didn’t feel like a school, more like coming home. Because Tilburg is so small and the lines of communication were so short, it feels quite personal. Instructors and fellow students always know what is going on and how you are doing. The instructors only fulfilled their role when they had to, but the lessons outside of class felt no different. There, we were all just people. I witnessed many changes, the switch to the new building and ultimately to the new OIL. Even though the number of students continued to grow, the atmosphere stayed the same.”

Connection to the Midpoint region
This school year, we will begin with over 200 first year students. In the future, it will really be a challenge to preserve the same identity, the same intimacy. “I find the fact that people know each other personally there and feel connected and co-owners of their own programmes to be really important,” says Frens. That sense of connection to the region will only continue to grow in the future. The number of research projects is increasing, collaboration with Tilburg University is being explored and in addition to the structural contacts with the firms in the region, they are also looking into further contact with social organisations.

New building for innovative education 
At this time, everyone is looking forward to moving to the new building: a veritable eye-catcher on the Stappegoor campus in the form of a transparent building for innovative education. This building shall be occupied by Fontys ICT University and Fontys ACI. The goal is to fulfil the need for highly trained ICT professionals in the Midpoint region and to expand to 1000 students and develop a thorough research portfolio. And who knows... perhaps in a few years we will be ready to celebrate another milestone!

Author: Maartje van Hees Fontys ICT University

Tags: In the Media