College teachers from Amsterdam visiting Sjöbergs to get inspiration

A sunny afternoon in May two small buses arrive to the factory. A group of teachers from Hout-En Meubilering College in Amsterdam is jumping out with big smiles on their faces. Perhaps because they get a chance to stretch their legs, but most likely, because they have reached one of their goals with this study trip: Sjöbergs Workbenches AB.

The teachers are here to get new knowledge and inspiration to bring back to their teaching. The study trip has been planned for a long time and it was not a coincidence that they came to Sweden and Sjöbergs Workbenches.
– Sweden has an old and genuine tradition of woodworking so it was an obvious choice to come here. Sjöbergs is also a big player in the market for workbenches, and we are very happy over the great welcome here, says Marjie van der Put.

During the visit we got a chance to talk with Hidde Maat, carpenter and one of the teachers at HMC. He teaches joinery cabinetmaking in level 3 and 4 for the students 18-19 years old.
-I used to work for different companies for 15 years but came to a certain point in my life where I wanted to express my creativity, says Hidde.
-That´s why I took an evening education at an art school called ”Teacher in art”. Here, I also got my degree to teach. A job offer came up at HMC, where I in my early years of school was a student, so I applied and got it. This is a very creative and rewarding work where I get to see young people develop their skills.

He continues telling us that there are two branches at the school, with around 3000 students. One is interior design and the other is furniture making. The split between girls and boys in these educations are 80/20 in the interior design and exactly the other way around in furniture making.
-We are trying to let the students be as self-supportive as possible. The first two years they get to know the basics in different crafts. In the third and fourth year, we let them be more independent when it comes to their projects, but we wish that they use the basics when they make decisions in the different steps of the process in creating.
– We also give them opportunities to get a place in the business market so they can stay in the profession after the time of education.

The Dutch teachers have also made a visit to Malmstensskolan and Stenebyskolan and we ask Hidde if he noticed any difference between them and the way they educate at HMC.
-It´s a higher level of woodworking here, but on the other hand the students are older as they enter these schools later in life. Perhaps also a bit more focused. It´s also more of the old hand work than machine work at these schools.

The students at HMC are 16 years old when they start. They do not have the same kind of experience like the Swedish students since they get both wood and textile education in the elementary school. At HMC they start from scratch, he says.

The joy of creativity for Hidde is: CREATE, CREATE, CREATE.
– That´s me in a nut shell and I am a wood fetishist. I am a creative person and I love to give my students the passion for materials and the craft. I also teach them to be proud of themselves and their creations, Hidde ends the interview.

Before the visit was over, they all got to see the production in action.

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