Tjebbe talks in KAS Magazine about a career in horticulture

Source: KAS Magazine (2020 – 04)

If Tjebbe van den Berg had to make an advertisement for his employer WPK, the following points would be central. We go through them one by one with this 22-year-old cultivation specialist, who came here as an intern and for whom a personal plan has already been drawn up, so that he can succeed the manager in a number of years.

1. Lots of challenges!
Tjebbe: “My current job actually consists of two parts. As a cultivation specialist, I and a number of colleagues grow crops here in the greenhouse at our location in Made. But I also have a job here at the office. There I work on improvement projects and certifications to be achieved. Such as the recently obtained SKALL-bio certificate. And I am responsible for space planning in the 12 hectare greenhouse. Plants are sown here, sorted, potted, set out, etc. This happens in different places in the greenhouse, so it is quite a task to ensure that it runs smoothly. But I like that.”

2. Lots of variety!
Tjebbe: “WPK is a major player in vegetable cultivation in Europe. “We grow at four locations, a total of about 23 hectares, for both greenhouse horticulture and open-field horticulture. We are currently busy here in Made with tomatoes and peppers, among other things. Cabbage will be added from January. And in the spring it is the turn of pot and bedding plants again. That’s the great thing about a plant nursery; throughout the year you have all kinds of branches. I like that variety. I have had an allotment garden as a hobby for years and I have all kinds of things there. There is also a small greenhouse, so I can grow the products we grow on site in my own greenhouse. Haha, yes, in that sense I do indeed take my work home with me. I enjoy it a lot, so there’s nothing wrong with that, right?”

3. Excellent working atmosphere!

Tjebbe: “I work with about 30 permanent employees at this location. During the season it is a lot busier, when more than 100 temporary workers are added. I did an internship here during my Horticulture & Business Management course at HAS University of Applied Sciences in Den Bosch. So I already know the permanent people. Most of them have fairly long employment contracts, so that indicates that the atmosphere here is good. Yes, they are often a bit older than me, but I don’t experience that as a problem. I bring new insights from my training, and I have the impression that they like that.”

Tjebbe currently lives temporarily in Kaatsheuvel but will be moving soon. He recently bought a house in Woudenberg, in the center of the country. He grew up there, has his circle of friends and his allotment garden there. The travel time to his work in Made will soon be about 50 minutes, but he will complete it with ease. “I am having a great time at Westlandse Plantenkwekerij (WPK), as this company is called. They give me quite a lot of responsibility. You don’t have that everywhere. For me, that makes the work extra fun and challenging. My future options here are also being seriously considered. The intention is that I will succeed the current manager in a number of years. A plan has been drawn up for this with the help of an external agency. Every six months we make a plan about what I still need to learn during that period in order to achieve that end goal.

I therefore advise young people who are looking for a job with future prospects to seriously consider a career in horticulture. A fun, varied sector with plenty of challenges for young people. With always renewal and all kinds of innovations and never a dull moment!”.

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