The Feadship yard in Makkum, one of the three Feadship yards, has been named as the ‘best apprentice training company’ in the Netherlands for the painting and maintenance sector. This prestigious award is an impressive achievement for the Craftsmen College that Feadship operates at its Makkum yard.
Feadship decided to set up its own school three years ago at the Makkum yard following a partnership with training institutes across the northern part of the Netherlands on the refit of the Feadship Serena. The Craftsmen College was established together with the ROC Friese Poort institute in Sneek and teaches forty people in the metalwork, painting and carpentry disciplines. Thirty of the students are Feadship staff and ten come from other companies in the local area. Feadship also provides its own teachers, trained and supervised by the ROC, which also sends lecturers to give some classes.
“Feadship is well known for building the finest motoryachts in the world, and our goal is that the people who build them are equally renowned,” says Japke van Groning, manager of the Craftsmen College. “The prizes we are winning are an acknowledgement of its success. In addition to being named as best training company in the Netherlands, we also won the 2013 painting awards in the Netherlands and are in the running to do the same again this year. One of our apprentice carpenters – Dennis Cornelissen – has also just won a medal for ‘excellent craftsmanship’ at EuroSkills 2014.”
Some 450 young workers from 25 countries competed over three days in early October in EuroSkills, Europe’s largest skills competition which was held in Lille, France. This exceptional achievement by Dennis was all the more pleasing for the Craftsmen College as he attends a class taught by a Feadship carpenter, Hedwich Terpstra.
Open to all ages
A unique aspect of the Feadship Craftsmen College is that it is not restricted to apprentices alone. The students include Feadship staff who have been working on the shop floor for decades, such as the foreman of the steel department. “This combination of people of all ages makes for an excellent cross-pollination of ideas and influences,” continues Van Groning. “Young apprentices and experienced workers learn to speak the same language, pushing the overall craftsmanship levels to an even higher level. We are also increasing people’s knowledge of materials, their understanding of the overall engineering processes, and their ability to communicate in English with captains and crew.”
“We are obviously very proud of the industry-leading quality of the yachts we build at all three Feadship yards,” adds Sijbrand de Vries, director of the Feadship yard in Makkum. “However, superyachts are becoming ever more complex and there is an increased requirement for more people to work simultaneously on different areas of the construction process. The Craftsmen College is facilitating a further enhancement of efficiency and quality, and the results have exceeded all our expectations.”