In mid-March we, Minke Schepers, Marketing and Communications department of Terra, and Evelien Kist, paid a visit to the province of North Holland for a meeting with a director of a pre-vocational secondary school of the Vonk College. I came to the address because of the excellent network EUROPEA, both at home and abroad. I had plotted the demand for successful training/growing educational institutions and a few colleagues responded. This was number 1 on the list and all the way in North Holland!
This school in Purmerend is a Pre-VET school with “green” practical subjects”. In the practical lessons they work with plants, animals, flowers, food, nature & environment and indoor and outdoor styling. Of course, information science, technology & technology and green entrepreneurship are also part of the practical program. In the whole of Europe (Weidevenne), the Vonk College Purmerend has a “green shop” where students can do an internship in a real business environment. A visit to the flower and plant auction in Aalsmeer and a green wholesaler are also part of this. Their motto is therefore: “Green: the basis for a colourful future”.
The school offers high-quality education from a professional organization, in which pupils and students are challenged to get the best out of themselves and does this by making the (learning) conditions as optimal as possible. The Vonk College is the first to reach employees, students, parents and the business community thought when it comes to good education because it:
• offers a safe and stimulating learning environment;
• challenges everyone to get the best out of themselves;
• cooperates with parents, the business community and other stakeholders in the region;
• is a professional organization with a modern personnel policy, and
• is characterized by transparency, responsibility and quality awareness.
The core values of the Vonk College are involvement, quality and fun.
It was a real pleasure to talk to the director, Mr Kees Schilder. He told about ‘his’ school with enormous enthusiasm and warmth. About the difficult years at first and then the enormous growth that was almost impossible to keep up with. But where does such growth come from?
What is striking, is that the school makes little or no advertising. No Marketing and Communications department, no expensive advertising agencies. No, the advertising is provided completely free of charge by the students and their parents.
The school delivers quality. Much attention is paid to the individual student. So that works! A student who feels seen is comfortable in his own skin and in this way contributes to a pleasant atmosphere. And, very important, it advertises the school spontaneously and selflessly.
The school in Purmerend touches some of the 17 sustainable development goals: 4. quality education and 3. good health and well-being but it is not something the school is consciously concerned with. When you ask about sustainability, you actually end up with the relationship with the immediate neighbors.
What PROGRESS can use as Good Practice is actually nothing more or less than ensuring that you are known as a school that provides constant, high-quality education. Sustainability then actually lies in the continued existence of the school with sustainable relationships with the outside world. The other SDG goals come into play when everyone is aware of their necessity. How ‘simple’ can it be!