PHILIPSBURG--K1 Britannia Foundation and National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA) construction students were recently invited to tour Holland America Line’s vessel MS Koningsdam.

  Holland America Line (HAL) is one of the biggest sponsors of the K1-NIPA construction course and the sponsors chose to host the youth of St. Maarten along with K1 staff onboard for a special luncheon.

  Twenty local youth started a six-month carpentry course in January that will allow them to obtain international certification from MIC Institution of Technology in Trinidad. The course is made possible through K1 Britannia Foundation’s Second Chance Programme in partnership with NIPA. Holland America Line chose to invest in St. Maarten’s educational opportunities for youth through the carpentry course.  

  Consequently, Holland America Line wanted to give the students a special experience to connect to them as sponsors. Fifteen Second Chance students, MIC Instructor Fleville Tinto, K1 Co-Founder Priya Thirumur, Second Chance Programme Managers Malaika Richards, Alan Schet and Administrator Chiaira Bowers were hosted by HAL Restaurant Operations Manager Tanberg Dsouza.

  MS Koningsdam is a Dutch three-year-old cruise ship operated by Holland America Line, the class leader of HAL’s pinnacle class ships. She is by far the largest ship ever to be constructed for Holland America Line. During the three-hour tour, invitees visited the Grand Dutch Café, culinary arts centre, art gallery, sauna, and various dining rooms.

  Dsouza shared a brief history and facts of the ship and the students were engaged and quick to point out interesting wooden architecture and art on board. The tour ended with a grand buffet lunch at the Lido Market.

  Jeremy Hodge, one of the NIPA students, said, “It feels great to know that Holland America Line gave us this opportunity to pursue our goal in carpentry. I personally really appreciate it a lot, because most of us could have been somewhere different during these six months, whether it was somewhere good or bad. I am grateful to be on this journey for the better.”

  The students have three months left to complete their course and receive their certification.

  K1 Second Chance Programme Manager Malaika Richards said, “It is always a pleasure to visit the youth at NIPA. They are engaged, developing in skill and growing tremendously as young adults. They demonstrate leadership and discipline in their craft.

  “The students were grateful that HAL invested in their futures and the opportunity to visit the ship. They intend to make the most of their experience by continuing in the advanced levels for carpentry and others have opted for entering the field and growing to own their own business. We will continue to support their ambitions.”

  K1 Britannia Foundation thanked Holland America Line, the Dutch Disaster Fund, Menzies Aviation, NIPA and MIC for ensuring the youth of St. Maarten are granted an opportunity to gain a career in carpentry.

  For more information about K1 Britannia Foundation and its Second Chance Programme, visit the website

www.k1britanniafoundation.org,

www.facebook.com/k1sxm, send an email to

[email protected] or call +(1) 721-543-3332.