The aim of the ‘NRWTalent – Region OWL’ student scholarship programme is to offer the best possible educational opportunities, regardless of social and economic circumstances. A ceremony and celebration was held in the Stadthalle Gütersloh on Saturday 19 November to accept 50 students from Ostwestfalen-Lippe onto the programme. Achievement-oriented, motivated and socially engaged young people from year 8 upwards at all school types will be helped to explore their potential, tap it fully and shape their own educational and professional careers.
District President of the Detmold region, Anna Katharina Bölling, was the guest of honour, standing in for North Rhine-Westphalia’s Minister of Schools and Education Dorothee Feller. ‘These local scholarship holders are now laying the foundations for the NRWTalent programme. With their successful applications, they have already shown that they can make their dreams come true and continue steadily along their chosen path. That is worthy of our respect and applause’, Bölling said. The District President thanked all those supporting the successful young applicants, saying that we need people who take students’ dreams seriously, and will listen to them and answer their questions. Bölling: ‘Education plays a key role in enabling young people to help shape the future – both their own and that of society as a whole.’
This scholarship programme, launched this year at Paderborn University and implemented in conjunction with Bielefeld University, FH Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences and OWL University of Applied Sciences and Arts (TH OWL), will be funded by the state Ministry of Schools and Education for a period of four years.
Comprehensive educational programme
As part of the scholarship, students will receive individual advice on how to boost their potential and future plans, as well as benefits in kind to support learning success and a comprehensive educational programme to enhance their skills. Prof. Dr. Birgitt Riegraf, President of Paderborn University, emphasised the value of a programme to support young talent: ‘I am delighted that universities and higher education institutions in the region are able to help many students in their educational careers with this new scholarship programme. By supporting young people – primarily from non-academic families – and helping them make the transition to studies or vocational training, we are taking a step towards our goal of separating educational success from social background.’
President of FH Bielefeld and the chair of Campus OWL, Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Schramm-Wölk, added: ‘Equal access to educational opportunities is a particular focus for all the higher education institutions in the Campus OWL association. We are delighted to be able to assist committed students in their educational careers. Working closely with stakeholders from the professional world, we want to help the scholarship holders on their path to traditional university studies, a dual degree or vocational training.’
‘Security and plenty of motivation’
The guests were offered an insight into the scholarship programme during a round table discussion with programme managers, scholarship holders and a school representative, all presided over by moderator Julia Ures. Nicole Schwier, a recently accepted scholarship holder from Herford, noted enthusiastically that the programme offered ‘advice, promotion, assistance and support tailored to your needs, giving me security and plenty of motivation’. Luana Heidenreich, one of the two programme managers, added: ‘The scholarship offers an opportunity to shape your own future to suit you, try something new or even unexpected, and develop a personal network’. Jennifer Gläßer, the second programme manager, emphasised that ‘it has already become clear this year that there were many more achievement-oriented young people worthy of a scholarship than the 50 that the Ministry of Schools and Education was able to fund. To be able to support more students via scholarships, we would be delighted if funding were to be provided, for example by companies and foundations in the region’.
Tablet magician Andreas Axmann’s entertaining performance offered some magical moments.
Now that they have officially been accepted onto the programme, the scholarship holders are beginning their future planning with the help of personal advice and support, benefits in kind such as public transport tickets, laptops, books and language courses, and a broad educational programme offering insights into business, science, politics and culture.