Bas takes his job as a mentor seriously. Every working day he picks up Pascal at 5:30 in the morning. Together they drive to the PoortMeesters building site in Delft: a new-build project being carried out by Ballast Nedam West on the edge of the historic centre of Delft. Once completed, PoortMeesters will consist of low-energy and low-maintenance town houses, two unique gates designed by Studio RAP and a green garden.
Transfer of knowledge
During construction, Bas teaches the tricks of the trade to his apprentice. In fact, the whole day is about transferring knowledge. "Of course the work would go faster if I did everything by myself", says Bas. "But such training is also worth something. Learning, experimenting and making mistakes: that's what it's all about. Along the way I really notice that he picks up the profession quickly."
Education at Ballast Nedam
Two right hands and plenty of enthusiasm are essential ingredients for securing an apprenticeship with Ballast Nedam. Every year, an eager group of apprentices start working at Ballast Nedam. They are trained as, for example, Machinists, Drill Supervisors, Pile-drivers or Carpenters.
Pascal is one of them. Because he is just a little too old for the traditional BBL route, he is following an alternative route. Pascal works full-time at Ballast Nedam West and receives carefully tailored training in consultation with Bouwschool Breda and Curio. This way he learns the profession in theory and in practice.
Challenging working weeks
Bracing, installing columns, making staircases to measure, welding... It all comes together. "This is a very broad profession, so there is a lot to learn. That is actually the biggest challenge. Besides, the days are long. In addition to the forty hours a week that I work on the building site, I go to school two evenings a week. There, I mainly get theory classes, which enable me to gather more and more knowledge."
Better every day
In the middle of the building site, Pascal looks around. Behind him is the staircase that he sawed to size himself. The columns and struts that he placed can be seen all over the floor. "I am very happy that I seized this opportunity with both hands. I can really see myself doing this. The calculations are the trickiest part, and applying the metre gauge, for example, sometimes went wrong. But it's getting better all the time. Plus, you see the project grow every day. That gives me so much satisfaction - I would never have expected it."