Milling, chipping and drilling in the basement.
The students of Summa College Technology and Process Technology learn how to work with complex machines, for example, to make small metal aircraft parts. On the other hand, Electro & Installation Engineering students learn how to lay pipelines or install electricity. More than 1,300 students have attended courses on the Brainport Industries Campus since this school year. On the first floor, it is still empty, although several connections are visible. “This is where the practical classrooms will be located where we can simulate malfunctions,” says Marjo Crijns, Director of Summa Electro & Installation Engineering.
Moving in before Christmas
At the moment, students still take most of their lessons in the temporary classrooms that are like containers at the front of the building. “But the goal is to finish everything inside before Christmas.” Saartje Janssen, Director of Technology and Process Technology, also indicates that it takes some getting used to. “At the moment, we are the largest campus resident, contact between students and companies is still a bit difficult. But that’s going to grow.”
To improve this contact and to give students some more information about what is happening at BIC, Campus Director Bert-Jan Woertman walks his tour of the classes to tell about all the activities. “Or maybe someone wants to do an internship somewhere? Or do another assignment at a company. In this way, we want to get them more interested. When new companies move in, it’s more natural for them to get in touch, so they can see exactly what’s happening. But we do want to continue to stimulate those meetings.” Crijns already sees some contacts develop with Installation Engineering students. “They love to see the men from ENGIE at work, these are the kind of companies students go to work for or already work for, it is recognisable so the threshold for a chat is lower. Not all companies are already present. Currently, there may be a lot of ‘pack men’ walking around; that distance is a bit further away for students.”
Collaborating with companies
For the education that Summa offers, the school works together with companies on the BIC, but especially with many companies from ‘outside’. “Summa-wide, this involves about a thousand different companies, from large to small. They give us input to make education future-proof”, Janssen says. Both directors see BIC as a kind of magnet in this: “We can show companies from outside what beautiful facilities we have and which we already have used in practice, but it’s not just about looking. Companies outside the campus can also make use of these facilities.” In this, Summa tries to operate as close to business practice as possible.
“Some school campuses still traditionally collaborate with smaller companies or larger companies that set up a department on the school campus. Here, it works the other way around; when the campus will be full, there will be many more companies. We are a little cog within the campus that has to turn around with the others,” Crijns explains. Janssen nods in agreement and adds: “The best way to do this is to be close to the companies where the students will be working. Moreover, we also want to continue to innovate education so that we can bind talent to the region.”
The newest of the new
Talent development is not just about training students for an MBO diploma, the directors say: “Someone can lose their job and choose a different path. This often involves retraining. Someone trained as a salesman has never learned to weld, for example. Lifelong development is our motto. We also offer courses for specific skills or develop a learning trajectory on behalf of a company. You’re never too old to learn.”
But you have to keep up with technological developments, Janssen says: “We have to keep a close eye on the latest developments and adapt our education accordingly. That’s not just about having the latest machines at your disposal. But it does of course play a role.” Janssen takes her phone out of her pocket and shows a picture of two teachers posing with their thumbs up in front of a new milling machine. “These are teachers who, of course, love such a machine.” The device has been made available by the industry; Summa College itself does not have the means to purchase this kind of top-notch equipment. Janssen: “We are very happy to teach students how to work with the newest of the new through this collaboration. Janssen pushes the photo away and laughs: “Teachers also think it’s cool to get to work with this.”