Blog post by Tobias • April 11, 2024

Tutors International mentee, Tobias Zijlstra updates us on how his last term studying on the nautical programme has been going.

The third term at school was a bit of a struggle for me. My grades went up and down, and I was not attending classes as regularly as I should have.  I knew something had to change, so I talked to my teachers, coach, and parents. They were all really supportive and together we worked on a support plan that I needed.  With this in place I have been able to get back on track and work on my grades and they are improving.  I still have a lot of work to do, but I am keeping my head up and aiming for the best possible finish to the year.

TOS Employment agency

There has been some change outside of school too. Unfortunately, the garage I used to work at on weekends had to close due to slow business. While I can still help out there occasionally, I needed something more regular. Thankfully, through TOS, an employment agency, I managed to get a new job as a lasher at the Vlissingen harbour.  A lasher is someone who makes sure the massive containers on vessels do not come loose. This is not easy work as the lashing rods and buckles weigh 20-40 kilos each, and the 8-hour shifts, especially after a day of school, are really tiring.  The pay is reasonable and it is good work experience, and I have made connections with the maritime agency. Hopefully this will make it easier for me to secure a job with them next year, once I have gained the certificates I need for crew work.

One interesting thing that has happened recently is that I am now the proud owner of a run-down moped! I bought the moped from a friend for just €12.50 (basically the cost of transferring ownership).  My friend no longer wanted the moped and was going to sell it. I saw this as a challenge to understand how mopeds work.  With the work I have done on my car I am slowly figuring out the intricacies of the engine. I have really enjoyed the troubleshooting and fixing process. 

At the moment of writing I have managed to get the moped started and running!  This project keeps my mind off the stresses of school and I am learning.  I have met some really nice people at some of the moped shops where I have gone to find some of the parts I have needed, which is also great.