Tox Bar owner Chris Wiersema was inspired to open the school after seeing a video advertising the similar ‘Ameland Academy’
Translated by Thomas Ansell
Around 300,000 tourists (pre/post-Coronavirus) head to the island of Schiermonnikoog each year, which is a huge driver for the local economy. So much so, that in recent years it has become increasingly difficult to get hold of the correct staff members on the island.
As the owner of the Tox Bar, Chris Wiersema is all to aware of these problems. Inspiration for the academy struck him following his viewing of an advertising video for the ‘Ameland Academy’ last year. As reported by the Omrop Fryslân.
“We already have difficulties finding the correct staff… So I came up with the idea of seeing if we could create an academy for Schiermonnikoog”, says Wiersema. “All of the businesses here have a heavy lack of good people. It’s a dream for some people to step off the boat and become an islander. If you come here to the Schiermonnikoog Academy, then you’ll also come to live on the island.”
Schiermonnikoog would be the third of the Wadden Islands with a hospitality school, with Texel opening one in 2018, and Ameland in 2019. More than 50 students from the islands have so far graduated, and about 70 percent of them have stayed on one of the islands to live and work.
The courses at the Academy are intended not only for young people on the islands, but also those living on the mainland. “It’s good for young islander’s to have something to go into from VMBO level, but we also want to bring more people from the mainland here”, says Wiersema.
The plan is to use courses from the Noorderpoort college and begin teaching them on September 1 of this year, with between 15 and 20 students. “The need for more people is several scales larger, but we can’t provide housing for that many students. We have asked the Gemeente for help in this, but that won’t happen before September 1- so we’re beginning small-scale and working up”, says Wiersema.