There is a growing need for sharing knowledge between students and businesses. On one hand, IT talents lack the orientation of the business opportunities in Twente; on the other hand, companies have trouble finding the right staff. It is our aim to make this a win-win situation. That is why our board always consists of leading professionals from the business community. They have a broad perspective of our catchment area, as a result of which we ensure that talent is retained here.
TalentIT Twente recently changed its board of directors. We would like to thank our former board members Stefan Masselink and Evert Veldhuizen for their passion and effort in setting up this foundation. We would like to welcome the new board members Florian Overkamp (treasurer) and Yvon Berendsen (secretary). In this message we introduce the entire board. They tell why they fight for the retention of IT talent in the Twente region.
“In the 90s I went to Twente for a study, I’ve been sticking around ever since,” says Florian Overkamp. “As the founder of SpeakUp, I deal with various challenges, one of which is innovation. In order to stimulate that as much as possible, it’s nice to regularly gain new and diverse insights in your organisation”.
A good contact with the training institutions, but also with TalentIT are the foundation to achieve this, according to Florian. “Moreover, it is nice to challenge students to work in organisations and thus contribute to the development of their skills. Contributing to the world around us is one of the core values at SpeakUp. My part in the board of Stichting TalentIT matches that very well”.
– Florian Overkamp, Treasurer (founder of SpeakUp)
Yvon Berendsen (secretary) also talks about her experiences in the business community of Twente. “In 2010, I left the beautiful Veluwe to go to the East and settled in Twente,” says Yvon. “My career in IT began in 2014, when I started as a manager at SSC Twente within the municipality of Enschede”.
“Our partnership with TalentIT Twente ensures that we become better known among students. The great thing about this organisation is that we help students with great IT jobs and / or additional jobs for their development. They often provide an interesting contribution within our organisation”. According to Yvon, it is a great incentive for a fresh perspective and a valuable contribution within organisations with IT needs in Twente. “In this way, we invest into our future IT specialists and keep the IT talent within Twente”.
– Yvon Berendsen, Secretary (manager of SSC Twente)
Board member Jorens Thomassen has been working on training and retaining talent for years. “When I was studying at the University of Twente, I also discovered the business world in Twente, in addition to being a student. Initially as an internship, but later I also started working for the same company in a part-time job. An extremely rewarding and fun time,” says Jorens Thomassen, managing director of TRIMM.
“At TRIMM we believe that the industry has a strong responsibility for training talent. That is why we have been investing in young talent with our own academy Professionals in Training since 2006. Every year, dozens of students find a place in our programme. In addition to the extra income, students immediately have a relevant part-time job with which they invest in their future”.
There is a broader need among both students and the business community and Jorens wants to create a win-win situation in this way. “I think it is important that we can continue to operate from our region with highly educated people. But it is not possible for every organisation to start its own programme. That’s why we like to join forces with other companies and institutions and dedicate ourselves to talent development through TalentIT Twente”.
– Jorens Thomassen, Board member (managing director of TRIMM)
Last but not least, we asked our chairman, Jeroen van de Lagemaat, what drove him to come to Twente from Utrecht. “After high school in Utrecht, I came to Twente for sports and study at the University of Twente. At the time it was called the Technical University of Twente (THT),” he says. There’s more to his passion for talent preservation: “In Twente, where our children were born and raised, where we share love and suffering, where we live and work, I’m in my element, and we simply never want to leave”.
“At the University, I was, among other things, a researcher, project and institutional trainer, in which I particularly valued cooperation with companies. This is because it ensured that, with the results of science, we make real progress on the ground. That’s why I became director of NDIX in 2000, a public company with the aim of optimising the business climate for companies in Twente by means of ICT facilities and services. The talent is desperately needed to put it to good use in the companies”.
– Jeroen van de Lagemaat, Chairman (director of NDIX)
Digital Workplace Twente is a place where entrepreneurs, students, teachers and experts help each other with digitisation. Entrepreneurs will benefit from practical support and specific advice. Young professionals provide them with advice on, for example: online sales & marketing, data and (office) automation. By means of a personal interview, we bring the digitisation issue into focus, so that a clear starting point is created for the students.
What questions can Digital Workplace Twente (DWT) help you with? Basically, we offer support in three areas: online sales & marketing, data and (office) automation. We help small to medium enterprises with issues such as: online findability, the translation of an online marketing strategy, marketing automation, Internet of Things and Big Data. DWT provides companies with new opportunities and researches the need for digitisation.
What steps do we take? We have a personal meeting, which enables us to determine the current state of digitisation. This is foundation for the issue. After the interview, DWT will link one or more students to your organisation, who will work under the supervision of lecturers and the experts in the DWT team. Together, they provide specific advice for the company. The project is supervised by lecturers and students from the ROC, Saxion and University of Twente.
Retaining IT talent in Twente is a subject that is regularly discussed. People and companies often speak about taking in students, but it turns out to be more difficult during the quarantine period. Now the question remains as how to best to deal with this. In this article, we look at NDIX, a business to business connectivity service provider, works with a project team of students.
“We started off in the region of the North-East Netherlands, but these days we provide companies with connectivity internationally. With a country-wide network in both the Netherlands as well as Germany, we serve 3500+ customers in the field of connectivity. We do this from our “headquarters” in Enschede with a team of 30 people by now. This growth lead to us having to reevaluate how we serve our customers and partners continually. We noticed that we could provide our customers with information much more easily during the order process, because we currently do this primarily via email and personal contact.” says Operations Manager, Harry Loof. NDIX is building a portal for customers and partners with the help of a team of students, of which Jarno is a part.
“Choosing to hire students and have them work on the portal was not a difficult choice to make.”
“With this team of students we are building a portal in which our existing customers & partners can find all their information. In this system they can, for example: view their bandwidth usage, collect financial data, or order a new Internet service.” says Harry. Choosing to hire students and have them work on the portal was not a difficult choice to make for NDIX. “The team of students has been working for just over a month now and they really shine. They are flexible, work well together and are on the same level.”
“Within software development, we work with the agile methodology. With each step, we develop something new in the code that we learn from, which makes the next step easier. This way we build faster during the entire process. When the students stay with the company for longer and have more background information, they will be able to quickly make the link to our existing applications. In this way, they learn to adapt quickly and understand the process better.
“We hope that, aside from stimulation by the students and innovations, we get to retain dedicated programmers who will ultimately be responsible for the portal and its design. They will be surrounded by a team of flexible students who will work together on the code to build the application. It is a conscious choice that we made, so that we can also scale up as soon as there are new projects.” Harry says.
“The work I do is challenging and interesting.”
We also asked Jarno about his part-time job at NDIX: “I started at NDIX since the spring and I work (from home) as part of a team that is building the NDIX portal, for at partners and customers. We have a meeting every Friday morning via Teams. During these meetings we discuss what happened last week, what we will do next week and the questions/problems we have.”
“The work I do is challenging and interesting, just like the internship I did at NDIX. The difference now compared to my internship is that I work in a team. That’s a fun experience and an addition to work. However, I personally don’t like working from home. I spend all day at my computer, I have little contact with other colleagues and I miss the coffee talk. I also miss hearing from my colleagues at the NOC. They are working around the clock to keep the NDIX network up and running. I learn a lot about the company itself, but also about internet technology. I regularly have questions about that. Also, I can not quickly receive feedback or advice, despite the fact that I am now in a team with other programmers. It is of course possible with Teams, but I prefer to walk to their desk. That is faster than sending a chat.”
“It is not all negative. What I really like about working from home is that you can decide where you work. When the weather is nice, I will work outside in the backyard which is very nice. I can also use my own equipment, which is an advantage anyway. I am eager to work in office again and see my colleagues. If the option is available, even if it’s for a day or two, I’d love to go!”
– Jarno Witjes, Software Engineer
The battle to connect and preserve talent in Twente has been given a new challenge: the COVID-19 pandemic. We are currently living in a very uncertain time. Many companies have therefore become hesitant about taking on new (young) IT-talents. However, the surplus of IT vacancies is still a cause for concern. In this article we show how students can be helped, especially now that many are falling behind due to closed schools. Let us take a look at how Naris (a consultancy firm for risk management) in Enschede, is tackling the problem. They recently took action by bringing in a new IT-talent.
“Tuesday the IMF announced that the Netherlands could suffer one of the heaviest economic blows. One of ING’s chief economists said that our country will certainly be hit hard, but how long it will take depends on the resilience of our economy”. Says Teamlead IT and Development Dennis van den Ende. He anticipates on the next steps. “As soon as we can fight COVID-19 and the situation returns to normal, we want to be ready to assist our customers swiftly and professionally. Even if our customers are reluctant to place new orders, we will continue the preparations.”
“So the work continues as usual. Partly for this reason, we have decided to continue looking for new staff.”
Naris had switched to working from home before the government’s call, in order to protect her staff. An inventory list was set up so that colleagues could take home supplies. “It is important that everyone is provided with a good office chair or an extra monitor.” They have also made an attendance list for in the office, so they know exactly how many colleagues are in the office and for what reason. “Some servers, for example, can only be accessed from the office building. Or because the alarm has to be tested as a result of an ISO 27001 security standard. So the work continues as usual. Partly for this reason, we have decided to continue looking for new staff.”
And so, Naris hired several new colleagues during the Corona pandemic. Including an IT student from TalentIT who started a part-time job. After the introduction, he was able to start immediately. “One of our core values is commitment, but of course that goes both ways. That is why we find a short personal familiarisation period important. It takes about three days for a new employee to get used to the job. We were able to do that at the office. This includes explaining programs, installing the necessary applications, setting up e-mail and, of course, Microsoft Teams. It is easy to do this with a proper distance and common sense. Especially since there is no one else in the office, you have enough space left and from the fourth day you can switch to working together with Teams”.
“I am very happy that TalentIT was able to match me for a part-time job at Naris.”
IT-talent Willem Lefferts is happy with his new challenge: “I am now working in the development team of Naris. Where I write a number of tests for their program in NodeJS for Citra. I still have little knowledge and experience in NodeJS, therefore this is a nice challenge for me. Having experience is very important as a Software Engineer, that’s why I really like the fact that TalentIT has helped me find a job that perfectly matches my needs. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, I was helped quickly and purposefully. The communication was very clear, so I was able to get started within a few days”.
ENSCHEDE – Just like in the rest of the Netherlands, companies in Twente are eager for IT staff. Half of the vacancies are difficult to fill, according to the UWV. Especially the demand for highly skilled programmers, developers and security specialists is great. That fact was the reason to start with TalentIT more than a year ago, says initiator Coen Beernink.
„We want to attract talent to the region, retain talent and help companies find the right people, ” says Beernink. TalentIT does this by placing students at companies for a part-time job, internship, thesis or a project. „ There are about 1,200 small IT-related businesses in the region, of which most are relatively unknown. There is a multitude of companies and institutions where the use of ICT is becoming increasingly important and therefore the availability of IT staff is essential.”
By placing students in these companies during their studies, they get to see what companies and institutions in Twente have to offer them. As a direct result of this, when the student graduates, they are more likely to stay in Twente. This is what TalentIT hopes to achieve.
Falco Berendhaus is the first student to be placed on behalf of TalentIT. Mid-May he starts a part-time job of 10 to 12 hours a week at InnoValor in Enschede. „It’s nice to be able to do something I also study for”, Berendhaus says. „I still work as a warehouse employee, but I’ll stop that as soon as I get to start at InnoValor.”
TalentIT offers more than just part-time jobs. TalentIT also works with internships, graduation projects or projects for a period of several months. Students can register with the foundation from the second academic year. „It would be best if the student gets to work part-time jobs and an internship at various companies for three years,” says Beernink. „So they get a behind the scenes look at many places.”
TalentIT received its startup capital through the Agenda of Twente, the Province of Overijssel and the municipality of Enschede. The affiliated companies and institutions assure TalentIT’s longevity. Their interest is to attract good people. Together with Falco Berendhaus, another twelve students are being placed at companies. There are sixty companies that want to participate. TalentIT is intended to grow steadily . „Our aim is to have around 200 students by 2020-2021, spread over about 150 organizations, ” says Beernink.
As of yet, it’s just Saxion students who can apply, but the intention is to also start a program with the UT. Starting this next school year guest lectures and company visits will be added.
What makes sense to several organizations is quite different in practice. The ‘road to talent’. With this TalentIT refers to the connection between businesses and students. Each organization recognizes it: I’m looking for talent, but where can I find them and how do I get in touch with them? This question has been asked increasingly often in recent years. Too many talents are leaving the region, because they simply do not know which cool organizations are located here.
“Twente and Overijssel have a top status in the IT field and there is plenty of work for IT people, ”emphasizes program manager Coen Beernink. “Yet, we see that students leave for the Randstad after their study and go to work there. With TalentIT we want to downsize the number of IT students leaving the region and fix shortages at technical organizations. TalentIT places IT students within organizations at an early stage of their career. This, for a part-time job, internship, graduation project or various other projects. As a result, they are introduced to challenging opportunities at regional IT organizations and organizations with IT departments, which helps their careers.”
Students who participate in TalentIT get a job and network guarantee. The reward is not only a good career perspective during your study, but during the program the student can also earn back their tuition fees. How? Transparency and equal opportunities, that’s it! As an example, the fee for assignments, internships and graduation assignments is the same within each organization and students choose purely for the contents of the assignment. The name of the organization remains unknown initially, says Coen. TalentIT also provides quality. Based on a number of conditions, such as the number of credits obtained and study progression, TalentIT selects students who are allowed to participate in the program.
Among other things; TalentIT works together with the Saxion University of Applied Sciences, the University of Twente, municipalities, Province Overijssel and, of course, students. The students are motivated! Gaining practical experience is fantastic for the development of students. Another important factor is how the business model is designed, namely that the organisations bear the burden. TalentIT is independent as a foundation and serves purely as a unifying factor with one thought: Get, Keep & Grow Talent!
At TalentIT we are the connector for the region. “Let’s Join, Develop & Stay”, says Coen Beernink.
This innovative, talent-oriented program aims to bring IT students, IT organizations and IT-related organizations together
TalentIT and Saxion have been busy this summer. A strategic cooperation is the beautiful result of these summer days! The agreement connects TalentIT and Saxion as partners for an indefinite period of time.
The agreement was signed by Raimond Bartelink, Director of the Academy ‘Creative Technology’ of Saxion, and Jeroen van de Lagemaat, chairman of the board of TalentIT.
“Overijssel has a top status when it comes to IT and there is plenty of work for IT people,” emphasizes program manager Coen Beernink. Saxion also believes this is the case and also notes that the demand from organizations for students is increasing. Saxion sees TalentIT as the ideal partner to add a talent-oriented program to the HBO-ICT study. The TalentIT program enables students to develop more extensively during and alongside their studies as IT specialists. Additionally, students will come into contact with the companies in the region earlier, says Academy of Creative Technology Manager, Janneke de Graaff.
“Via TalentIT we want to offer current and upcoming students a platform through which they can start with a part-time job, projects, internships and / or their thesis. Think of it as an “early” start to their career,” said HBO-ICT training manager Paul Goolkate.
Saxion sees the platform as a quality boost for students through which they can gain insight into the region and practical experience. This applies to both the regions of Twente and Salland. Of the Saxion, two locations represent IT, Enschede and Deventer. Both of them are focused on students and organizations in these regions.
“TalentIT is widely supported by educational institutions, Overijssel, municipalities and organizations. But most important are the students! They notice the huge added value of the program and are excited whenever they learn something they enjoy,” notes Coen Beernink.
“Figures show that students often leave the region after their education to go work elsewhere, although there is plenty of work for IT professionals here in Overijssel. It’s just not known! TalentIT is confronted daily by students who remain silent when asked: ‘which organization(s) do you know from the region?’ We are going to change that! By introducing students to the challenging positions that are available at various beautiful IT organizations in Overijssel, we hope to retain talent for the region.” explains Jeroen van de Lagemaat, chairman of TalentIT.
With regards to participation in the program, TalentIT sets participation conditions to ensure quality of all participants. This is important in order to provide quality to the participating students and organizations. Resultingly, the IT sector in the region will be better enabled to develop more.
“We see the enthusiasm among students, even during the summer holidays the conversation continues. They want to get in touch with the great many companies in the region and gain relevant experience, they want to get started!” says Coen Beernink.
Saxion supports this mindset. Through this program, students can make their education even more relevant. Saxion has admitted TalentIT to the curriculum to show that quality is the top priority. Students are very positive about the program. “As a student, you gain practical experience through a relevant part-time job at an organization that you choose. You can also choose the company at which you want to have your internship, which follows in September. TalentIT offers the student the freedom to choose what they like!”, emphasize students Falco Berendhaus (3rd year HBO-ICT) and Wouter Kamp (2nd year HBO-ICT). The motivation and enthusiasm of the students is contagious for the participating organizations.
TalentIT is one of the projects of the ‘Agenda voor Twente’ (www.agendavoortwente.nl) and is also included in the ‘Regio Deal Twente’. The government is allocating a budget of 30 million euros for this region. In addition, financial contributions from the province of Overijssel, Twente municipalities, knowledge institutions and entrepreneurs give a considerable boost to, among other things, a vital Twente labour market. The close cooperation with Saxion fits perfectly within this movement.
Twenty students and over twenty organizations are in the starting blocks for TalentIT. This is a collaboration between various organizations and the Province of Overijssel to retain talented students in Overijssel.
By working together, IT companies want to reduce staff shortages. During their studies, IT students are offered a part-time job to introduce them to the challenging opportunities for their careers at regional IT organizations as well as organizations with IT departments. The reward is a nice career prospect, and a salary during their studies and the possibility of full reimbursement of tuition fees. They also do their internship and graduate at organizations in the region. Students who participate in TalentIT receive a job and a network-guarantee for a workplace at one of the affiliated organizations.
“We now see that students leave for the Randstad after their studies to go work there. In spite of there being plenty of work for IT workers here in Overijssel. By introducing students to the challenging positions available at various IT organizations in Overijssel, we aim to retain the talents for the region,” explains Jeroen van de Lagemaat, chairman of TalentIT.
The enthusiasm among entrepreneurs is high. They experience for themselves how large shortages on the labour market are, and see the struggle for talent becoming increasingly large. TalentIT wants to grow further in the coming years in order to introduce and connect more talented students with entrepreneurs from Overijssel.
Every HBO IT student at Saxion University of Applied Sciences or Master Computer Science student at the University of Twente can apply for TalentIT. Based on a number of conditions, such as number of credits and study progress, the students who may participate in TalentIT are selected.
“We immediately feel the enthusiasm to get in touch with organizations from students who register. Gaining practical experience is the best development we can offer to the students. They want to get started!”, explains initiator Coen Beernink of TalentIT.
2nd year HBO ICT Software Engineering student Falco Berendhaus indicates that it is an ideal outcome in terms of concept. As a student, you gain practical experience through a relevant part-time job at an organization that you choose yourself. You can also manage your internship, which will follow in September. TalentIT gives the student freedom to choose what they like!
TalentIT has been developed with the support of the Province Overijssel, the municipality of Enschede and the Agenda for Twente. Additionally, it works closely collaborates with the Saxion University of Applied Sciences, University of Twente, study associations Syntaxis, Inter-Active and student organizations Student Union and the University Innovation Fellows (UIF).
An initiative of various organizations, educational institutions, municipalities, the Province of Overijssel and the students themselves, in which business is conducted in a socially responsible manner from day one.
Province of Overijssel supports TalentIT. Depute Eddy van Hijum of economics: “It is very unfortunate that students study here and then leave to work in the Randstad. There are great companies here to work as an IT’er, but unknown makes unloved. Via TalentIT, students can experience for themselves what it’s like to work at one of those companies. This is good for the student, for the employer and for the regional economy.”