Business cooperations: Studying, done? Job!

How companies collaborate with FHWS

 © Simone Friese

Companies are always on the lookout for qualified young talent. FHWS offers companies various collaborations in order to approach graduates: from purely advertising activities through financial support to formats with direct contact with potential employees.

Students at FHWS come into contact with numerous companies during their studies. The teaching is therefore shaped by a particularly practical orientation. But companies also strive to approach students through deeper partnerships with FHWS. According to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), 55% of companies consider skills shortages to be the biggest business risk. This risk motivates them to present themselves positively to students and above all to future graduates. Ferchau GmbH is a long-standing partner of FHWS, for example, and collaborates with FHWS in a variety of ways. “It’s not just the students who benefit from this, but also us as a company,” says Lisa Schneider, Human Resources Manager at Ferchau.

Quote Stefan Hartmann: “One of the most important and most popular collaboration options is lecture room sponsoring.“

Lecture in a sponsored lecture room

“One of the most important and most popular collaboration options is lecture room sponsoring,” Stefan Hartmann, Chancellor of FHWS knows. This is a special form of sponsoring: here, companies rename a lecture room and use the adjoining advertising space. FHWS is financially supported as a result. The lecture room can either be named with the company name or named after a person who is connected to the company, according to the company's preference. As Jonas from the Electrical Engineering degree programme tells us, this is how he became aware of companies right from the beginning of his studies. Lectures and events thus take place in the Sparkassen or Schaeffler lecture room, in the Warema-Renkhoff-Aula or in the Fränkische-Rohrwerke lecture room, for example. The former Aldi-Süd lecture room received media attention for a long time. Criticism of science supposedly bought by a discounter was loud. However, Hartmann emphasised: “With lecture room sponsoring, companies strive to attract attention in order to gain new recruits. The teaching in the lecture room are not affected by it in any way.”

Personal contact with students

The national scholarship Deutschlandstipendium is another very popular collaboration option. Talented students are financially supported both by companies and by the federal government. They receive 300 euros a month for a period of two semesters. One of the sponsors is the Königsberg-based company Fränkische Rohrwerke Gebr. Kirchner GmbH & Co. KG. “The Deutschlandstipendium offers us the opportunity to come into contact with young talent at an early stage,” says Otto Kirchner, Managing Partner of Fränkische. Companies and scholarship holders meet at a formal handover ceremony. The engineering and IT service provider Ferchau, with its headquarters in Schweinfurt, also values the personal aspect of this partnership, Human Resources Manager Lisa Schneider stresses: “We get to know the students and can exchange ideas with them.”

Deutschlandstipendium handover
Students and companies get to know one another in person at the Deutschlandstipendium handover (FHWS/Bolza-Schünemann)
Deutschlandstipendium Logo

The personal connection is also in the foreground at job fairs. In 2020, FHWS took part in the major study&stay job fair, which was previously only hosted by the University of Würzburg, for the first time. For many years, FHWS has organised the “Praxisforum” at which companies can present themselves to a large number of students. This idea is now carried over to a new format. The exchange of information between students and employers should continue to be at the forefront in the future. Students can ask questions and find out about bachelor's theses, internships or a possible to start to their career in a large exhibition space.

The FHWS Career Service, which supports the partnership between FHWS and potential employers through various events, also pursues the same goal. As an interface between the two parties, the Career Service organises workshops, talks and field trips in collaboration with companies. Students thus get information first hand and can gain insights into companies.

When studies and vocational training complement one another

One classic option for collaboration between higher education institutions and companies is offering cooperative studies. The offer consists of the option of completing either academic study combined with vocational training or academic study with intensive in-company training. “The theoretical knowledge that the students acquire during their studies is consolidated in internships. This includes a practical or internship semester , internships during semester breaks and the final bachelor's thesis,” explains Fränkische Partner Kirchner. For the company, academic study with intensive in-company trainingare a key measure for promoting young talent. Students benefit from a significant practical component, are financially supported by the partner companies and can get a running start in their professional lives.

“Cooperative study continues to be developed,” says FHWS Chancellor Hartmann. “More and more degree programmes offer the possibility of combining training and academic study.” Companies like Fränkische can thus get to know students particularly well and provide them with solid preparation for their later daily working lives. Like all universities of applied sciences, FHWS provides application-oriented teaching with a strong practical focus, explains Hartmann. But he also stresses that FHWS can organise the teaching freely here.

Arousing interest with advertising

In order to win over students, many companies also use simple advertising measures. Placing advertisements in study guides is popular here, something which Fränkische, among others, has done for many years. Companies also like to get involved in filling the “Freshers’ bags” with promotional gifts. Lisa Schneider recounts that Ferchau regularly supports students with ballpoint pens, pads or notepads. The demand from students for such promotional gifts is very high, as the student representation spokesperson confirms.

Benefits for students and employers

In addition to the options for collaboration with FHWS as a whole, there are also numerous other formats within the faculties. Individual projects are specifically supported in the form of donations. Many faculties organise smaller practical fairs within the faculty. Whether internally or for the entirety of FHWS – the students and soon-to-be graduates asked consider the partnerships to be helpful, as a whole. They become aware of companies both through informative events and through sponsorships or advertising campaigns which may be considered as future places of employment. Companies have also recognised the mutual benefits. “The students have an increasingly practical orientation and are frequently involved in projects. We are therefore able to come into contact with students at an early stage,” Lisa Schneider knows. Companies can present themselves as attractive employers and thus combat the skills shortage in the long term. “Ultimately,” student Ina observes, “we all benefit from it.”

Quote Lisa Schneider: “The students have an increasingly practical orientation and are frequently involved in projects. We are therefore able to come into contact with students at an early stage.”

More information about cooperative studies or practical degree programmes at FHWS:

Link to academic study combined with vocational training

Link to academic study with intensive in-company training

Photo of Anna Hartmann

An article by 
Anna Hartmann