Learning your craft by hand
TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS | PHOTO © FRIESLAND COLLEGE
If there is something our economy needs more than anything else, it is talented, enthusiastic and independent doers. At Friesland College, the students learn their trade the practical way. This way, they graduate with a head full of knowledge as well as a pair of practised hands.
“At Friesland College, you learn the trade for a practical mid-level job,” says Tom Valk, director of Friesland College’s school of commerce and services. “We offer a broad variety of studies, from training to become a sommelier or entrepreneur in retail and social work to carpentry. Yet, what makes us even more unique is our philosophy of practical learning. We strongly believe that you comprehend your theory better if you immediately apply it in practice. Therefore, our students regularly leave the campus to observe and gain experience in the field.” This contact with the sector itself also helps the school to keep their curriculums relevant. They teach their students exactly what the industry needs them to know and let the practice dictate the course. “Companies sometimes come to us themselves with suggestions to adapt our programme even more to the reality. Among others, the airline industry has recently asked us to teach our cabin crew students more about wines. This way, they are even better prepared to work on business class flights in the future.”
Now that more and more tourists are finding their way to the beautiful region of Friesland, the tourism-related subjects at Friesland College are gaining popularity as well. Nonetheless, all those aspiring towards a life as a steward or stewardess, have to follow the general tourism programme at the campuses in Leeuwarden and Heerenveen first. “Here, they explore the ins and outs of the travel industry in the broadest sense. They peek behind the curtains at hotels, tour operators, ticket offices, airports and many other dynamic biotopes. If, by the end of the training, they still choose to work up in the air, they can commence the flight-attendant training.” This programme combines a sizeable theoretic foundation with lots of hands-on training. Not only during the two internships (one on the ground and one in the air) but also in the advanced simulation aeroplane at the school itself. “Like a cherry on top, the lion’s share of our cabin crew alumni graduates already having a contract with an airline. In general, Friesland College’s alumni find good jobs easily. Given that they have received plenty of hands-on training, made many valuable contacts during their practical exercises and learned to work very independently, they are high in demand on the job market.”