DRIEBERGEN – Leon Kortekaas is a Feadship project planner. Christel Hollemans does sales support at Lengers Yachts. Hans van Doornmalen is a broker at Edmiston & Co. in Monaco.
Vocational institutes in the Netherlands are beginning to deliver qualified people for the Dutch yacht building industry, a sector with a growing hunger for talent.
In the past decade, finding skilled workers and management staff has gained significance if the sector is to remain a world leader in semi and full-custom yachts of any length. There is a sense that general business and technical courses don’t deliver the quality large yacht builders and their suppliers need.
For 90 years, the IVA Driebergen Business School has prepared students for management jobs in the car industry. In 2015, the school delivered the first batch of graduates who completed 3 or 4-year college-level nautical business courses.
Commonly called IVA Driebergen offers marketing, management, economics, sales and other courses as well as technical studies. Annually, 50 to 60 students enroll in these studies that include practical experience of one day a week at a company. IVA Driebergen is an unsubsidized school. Annual tuition runs to about €11,500.
The nautical business curriculum is broad-based, says Ferry Barendregt, the school’s director. “We are talking about a sector active in international markets, that deals with lots of legal, economic, financial and management issues. For instance, how to deal with a merger or takeover? Well, we teach that.” Students range in age from 16 to about 21.
A more recent, €2.3m initiative in the Netherlands is the Yacht Builders Academy.
A collaborative project of the government and the Dutch sector, it offers technical courses – construction, repairs, refits, engineering, woodworking, electrical work, electronics, painting, etc.
The academy welcomes Dutch and Belgian students. It expects an enrolment of 360 by 2021. The 37 private sector participants in the academy include the cream of the Dutch yacht building, such as Heesen Yachts, Feadship, AkzoNobel, Younique Yachts and Netherlands Maritime Technology.
The academy also offers retraining of people from other industries and want to switch to ship and yacht building. Or who want to advance in their yacht building sector job to foreman, manager or planner.