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Mar 29, 2021

Milestone reached: Gütersloh campus achieves official recognition

NRW state parliament has approved long-term location development for Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences in Gütersloh

The Gütersloh campus was merely a study location of the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences in the past. As of March 24, 2021, however, the campus is now a legally recognized location of East Westphalia-Lippe's largest university for applied sciences. This was decided by the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia with a broad political majority at its meeting on the same day in Düsseldorf. It is cause for celebration for Beckhoff Automation. The leader in PC-based control technology has been a strong supporter of practice-integrated studies in Gütersloh since the very beginning, and each year trains around 30 students in futureproof engineering professions together with the University of Applied Sciences.

Gütersloh campus – successful in teaching, research and collaboration

The decision by the state parliament to make the Gütersloh campus an official new location of the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences is a historic milestone for the university and the Gütersloh business and science location. This secures the possibility of further sustainable development of the successful range of teaching, research and collaboration with the business community at the Gütersloh campus. The most important drivers and supporters of this success story of recent years had met a few days before the decision for an exchange of views directly at the Gütersloh campus in front of the Gleis 13 building. Among them were André Kuper, President of the State Parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia, Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Schramm-Wölk, President of Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, Raphael Tigges, Member of the North Rhine-Westphalian Parliament for constituency 95 - Gütersloh II, Sven-Georg Adenauer, District Administrator of the Gütersloh district, Hans Beckhoff, Managing Owner of Beckhoff Automation, and Henning Matthes, Deputy Mayor of the City of Gütersloh for the Family, Youth, School, Social Affairs and Sports division.

Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Schramm-Wölk is very pleased with the outcome: “The decision of the legislators to anchor the Gütersloh Campus as a location of the Bielefeld UAS in the law is a milestone in the history of our university: On the one hand, it is a significant award for all stakeholders inside and outside the university who have been committed to making the Gütersloh Campus a success story over the past 10 years. On the other hand, following the decision by the state parliament, there is now an opportunity to develop the location even more intensively and to expand the range of teaching, research and cooperation with industry.”

A core group was committed to anchoring the Gütersloh campus in the Higher Education Act (from left to right): Raphael Tigges, Member of the North Rhine-Westphalian Parliament for constituency 95 - Gütersloh II, Sven-Georg Adenauer, District Administrator of the Gütersloh district, André Kuper, President of the State Parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia, Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Schramm-Wölk, President of Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, Hans Beckhoff, Managing Owner of Beckhoff Automation GmbH & Co KG, and Henning Matthes, Alderman of the City of Gütersloh for the Family, Youth, School, Social Affairs and Sports Division.
A core group was committed to anchoring the Gütersloh campus in the Higher Education Act (from left to right): Raphael Tigges, Member of the North Rhine-Westphalian Parliament for constituency 95 - Gütersloh II, Sven-Georg Adenauer, District Administrator of the Gütersloh district, André Kuper, President of the State Parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia, Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Schramm-Wölk, President of Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, Hans Beckhoff, Managing Owner of Beckhoff Automation GmbH & Co KG, and Henning Matthes, Alderman of the City of Gütersloh for the Family, Youth, School, Social Affairs and Sports Division.

Practice-integrated studies as a specialty

The recipe for success at the Gütersloh campus is practice-integrated studies. This form of study combines practical phases in a company with theoretical phases at the university. The cooperating companies offer a job and a place to study in one, so the students receive an employment contract and are enrolled at Bielefeld UAS at the same time. In addition to the exciting content-related perspectives that result from the close exchange with the local partners, this model also gives the students a stable economic foundation for their studies right from the start. “The Gütersloh campus of Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences has been a success story for the region since it was founded in the winter semester of 2010/2011 due to the close cooperation with numerous companies and the community. With Beckhoff at the forefront, the local economy supports the UAS in Gütersloh in an exemplary manner with several endowed professorships. At the same time, the economy benefits greatly from the excellently trained engineers,” reports André Kuper.

Beckhoff has been involved since the beginning

During the 2020/2021 winter semester, 75 companies offered study places at the Gütersloh campus, 14 of which were participating for the first time. In total, 178 companies cooperate with the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences in the practice-integrated degree programs at the location. One of the first partners was Beckhoff Automation. The company continues to support Bielefeld UAS with several endowed professorships at the Gütersloh campus.

“March 24, 2021, is a small historic day for the city and district of Gütersloh,” Hans Beckhoff is pleased to say, adding: “Gütersloh will become a permanent location of the Bielefeld UAS! After 10 years of development work, we now have security for the future of Gütersloh as a university location. The concept of practice-integrated studies developed and implemented in Gütersloh has proven to be a real success model. This is true for the students, who receive an excellent education; they explore science and cutting-edge industry during their studies and can study largely free of financial worries. But it also applies to industry, which gains high-quality, performance-oriented employees who can often quickly take on responsibility in the company on the basis of the practical experience they have gained during their studies. And it applies to the city and the district: students are rejuvenating our region, young people from all over are moving here, and life is becoming more colorful and exciting. We, as a company, would like to thank the Bielefeld UAS, the city and the district of Gütersloh, all contributing companies, the students, and also the alumni who have gone through the not always easy founding years. Today, however, we would like to express our special thanks to the state parliament, represented by our state parliament president, Mr. Kuper, who has recognized the special efficiency of the Gütersloh model and is now giving Gütersloh a secure foundation for its successful development. We would also like to thank the state politicians in general, who have given their support across all factions from all political camps. We look forward to the successful continued development of the Gütersloh site!”

Young professionals for a future-facing industry

For Beckhoff, excellently trained specialists are of very great importance. Automation technology is a highly complex field that requires true specialists in order to keep inventing trendsetting innovations that advance both industries and society. Through the practice-integrated degree program, Beckhoff has the opportunity to train young people directly for a specific field of application. The students benefit from the theoretical knowledge in the apprenticeship and the applied know-how of their colleagues, mentors and trainers in the company. After graduation, Beckhoff strives for a 100% acceptance rate of its students with correspondingly good performance. In this way, graduates proceed seamlessly into a secure and exciting expert career in the future-oriented automation industry.

Wide range of engineering studies and business administration

Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences has been active in Gütersloh since the 2010/2011 winter semester. The engineering and mathematics departments as well as the executive board at Bielefeld UAS are in charge of the Gütersloh campus, working together with the central faculties to further develop research, teaching and transfer at the location. Currently, for example, conceptual considerations are being made as to how international courses of study can be established with English as the language of study. In the future, the Gütersloh campus could be expanded to include additional degree programs, laboratories, workshops and research facilities. “That, however, is still pie in the sky,” comments the president of Bielefeld UAS, Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Schramm-Wölk.

The range of courses currently offered to over 500 students – and rising – includes the five practice-integrated bachelor's degree programs in digital logistics, digital technologies, mechatronics/automation, product service engineering and industrial engineering. In addition, there are four part-time degree programs with courses on Saturdays. These include the master's degree programs in Applied Automation, Digital Technologies and Industrial Engineering, as well as the Bachelor of Business Administration. In addition, the research master's degree in Data Science is also offered as a full-time program.

Studying in Gütersloh is attractive

At Beckhoff, practice-integrated engineering training was established by the R&D Cooperations department headed by Dr. Ursula Frank. “Studying in Gütersloh – for many young people, this has been the recipe for success in their careers for more than 10 years. Young people from Germany as well as young people from around the world study future technologies such as digitization, automation, big data and artificial intelligence at the Gütersloh campus of Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with companies. At the same time, they acquire knowledge about the company's products, technologies and work processes, and assume responsibility during their studies. Thus equipped, they can successfully enter professional life directly after graduation, without a long training period. Furthermore, low dropout rates, a standard period of study and financial security increase the attractiveness of studying in Gütersloh. We are convinced by the practice-integrated degree program in Gütersloh – and we are all the more pleased that the state government is also convinced and has now secured the future of the Gütersloh campus by law,” says Dr. Ursula Frank.

The students also feel that their studies are well supervised and well prepared for their professional lives. Angela Vogt, a graduate of the practice-integrated bachelor's program and the part-time master's program in industrial engineering, who now works in product management for the Motion division, reports: “Both during my practice-integrated bachelor's program and in the part-time master's program at the Gütersloh campus, I liked the great learning environment with small groups and the personal proximity to the extremely motivated teachers. At the same time, I am convinced of the educational content offered: When researching master's programs that fit the challenges in my profession, I found no better program than the ones offered in Gütersloh. That's why I'm very pleased with the well-deserved appreciation for the Gütersloh campus and the associated opportunities for further development.”

Her colleague Steffen Thiesbrummel, currently a student in the Mechatronics/Automation degree program at Beckhoff Automation, is also happy about his choice and is looking forward to his future at the Gütersloh campus: “I am thrilled about the practice-integrated degree program at the Gütersloh campus, because on the one hand I can deal with extraordinarily exciting future topics and on the other hand I can stay in my home country for my studies. I am very pleased that the Gütersloh Campus has been anchored as a location of the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, because I am sure that the offer will now be expanded even further and the campus will become even more important.”

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