After seeing months of chaos at Schiphol, it’s hard to imagine, but students Milana, Louisa, Melissa and Floris from MBO College Airport in Hoofddorp are eager to get started as airport security guards. Every month, 50 students leave the program with a safety certificate. Good news for Schiphol, which wants to employ 850 new security staff in the coming May holidays.
According to MBO College Airport, 600 new security guards graduated from the program last year. That number is expected to rise to 800 this year. The course lasts ten months. The students are then taught at the MBO in Hoofddorp and gain practical experience at Schiphol.
To prepare the students for practical work, MBO College Airport has recently acquired a practice room with a replica of one safety lane, such as at Schiphol. That Lane was yesterday opened festively by interim director Ruud Sondag from Schiphol.
The training set-up is mainly intended for teaching social skills, which, according to the MBO, are ‘important for remaining robust and professional in difficult circumstances’. There is no scanning equipment or conveyor belt in it.
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Drinks with the bobos
Besides many men in suits and women in suits, dozens of students are also invited to the party. Initially, they will be deployed at the event as traffic controllers in the car park. With light sticks, which are normally used to control airplanes, the visitors show the way through the school building. After the formalities, the sticks could go and non-alcoholic drinks were enjoyed with the bobos.
The enthusiasm among the students for the security work at Schiphol is striking. Milana, Louisa, Melissa and Floris say they also know the pictures of last year’s chaos, but that doesn’t scare them. Working conditions and wages have improved significantly. “There is a lot of employment, which is positive for us security guards,” says Milana.
Melissa finds it exciting work, for example if something is found during the scanning of hand luggage or when passengers are searched. Floris and Louisa are halfway through their education, and they know it for sure. Once they have their diploma, they start working at Schiphol.
“Young people are very agile,” says director Philip Mol of MBO College Airport. “They just see the perspective, at least I have to work there later, it will be fine. That optimism is perhaps also in the youth. They are not as pessimistic as adults often are. They think I have to make something of it.”
“We also went around Schiphol with practical lessons and questioned employees there,” says student Louisa. “They just say it’s very positive. Of course there are negative things, but yeah, that’s what the news makes of it.”
Trainees as cheap labour
Schiphol director Ruud Sondag told NH News yesterday that around 500 new security guards have started at the airport. Again 50 to 100 extra security guards compared to last week. Sondag is still not sure if he will get the 850 security guards needed for the May holidays. If chaos threatens in the terminal, Schiphol still wants to limit the number of departing passengers during peak hours.
In other departments, such as the baggage porters and the check-in desks, the lack of staff is still great. Director Mol of MBO College Airport wants to prevent action companies at Schiphol from abusing his students. Previously, these companies filled gaps in the shift schedules with MBO students, against all agreements. Instead of being guided, they were thrown into the deep end on the work floor.
“That’s why we are now much more visible at Schiphol, and we now go around there more often,” says Mol. He demands from the action companies and the airport that the internships are ‘in order’ and that there is sufficient supervision. “There has also been research into that. But I am satisfied with how it is now being handled at Schiphol. I really hear that it has changed.”