Principal’s Blog from Holland
Tuesday 26 November 2019
Today we visited one of 12 specialist colleges just outside Utrecht, part of a super-college of some 18,000 students. This College focuses on technology, others focus on security, healthcare, automotive and business administration. Students learn in large, bright spaces using up-to-date equipment, much of it provided by local employers. Students either take an apprenticeship with 1 day in College or a college-based course with a 1 day a week internship. Both routes lead to the same qualification. Employers and staff work closely to make sure courses are relevant to the local economy. Employers invest in the College and young people to ensure that they have a supply of well-trained staff.
In the welding workshops all the materials were supplied by the company we were going to visit next. Another company supplied wooden parquet tiles so that the College could become a centre for parquet training. The College had just developed a course for apartment maintenance companies which combined aspects of carpentry, plumbing and decorating. These students were building and fitting out mini-houses.
We then went to Kiremko, a company that makes food processing equipment and spoke to welding apprentices and employees who had trained at the Technical College. Kiremko staff mentor apprenticeships and are supported by the College. Almost all the welders here had been trained by the College and were able to show how they had applied the skills they had been taught in the workshop. Here designers took orders for machines from all over the world and produced plans and patterns for manufacture. In the spotless workshop, sheets of stainless steel were cut with great precision by high pressure water or lasers to create the parts which were then assembled by the welders. One machine which had just been finished turned 15,000 kilos of potatoes into fries in 1 hour. Other machines produced the hash browns so beloved by our students. In the lobby the welders had created this statue to showcase their skills.
Holland appears to be well ahead of the UK in the way government, colleges and employers all work together collaboratively to ensure that students learn the technical skills which employers and the economy needs and that training is both up-to-date and of a very high standard.
Monday 25 November 2019