Drones are making their debut in vocational education in the coming academic year. ROC van Twente is the first institute of senior secondary vocational education and training (MBO) in the Netherlands to be in the final stages of developing two new optional subjects: drone technology and drone usage. The new courses are being developed in close collaboration with Space53, the first national test location for drones and other unmanned systems in Twente. Students are expected to be able to enrol for the drone courses from the 2017/2018 academic year onwards. On Friday 25 November 2016 over 300 students got an interactive taster of the new courses during the ‘Drone Experience’ event, during which a group of 28 school pupils also sat a theory exam to be able to fly drones weighing up to 4kg.
Many pupils responded positively to the demonstrations and the optional subjects. “It was really interesting to see the applications and the various drones. I personally would really like to use drones to capture video images.” Another pupil added: “Today has made it clearer just how much is possible. I’m really interested in drone technology, so I definitely want to do this course.”
ROC van Twente and Space53 are currently finalizing the new optional subjects, which will soon be submitted to the Cooperation Organization for Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market (SBB) for certification. During the Drone Experience at Twente Airport, the 300 students who attended received information about the drone courses that will soon be accessible for more than a thousand students via the four study tracks offered by ROC van Twente. “So far, no other comparable institutes of vocational education offer drones as an optional subject on this scale,” says Laurens van Lier, the ROC’s director of the MBO College for Transport, Logistics & Mobility. “These new options give our students added value when they enter the job market.”
Students who choose one of the two new optional subjects in the coming academic year will receive three hours of teaching per week, either about flying drones or about drone technology, which includes drone building, testing and maintenance. That amounts to a total of 240 study hours, after which the student should have all the necessary basic skills to become a drone pilot or, for example, a maintenance engineer for drones and other unmanned systems.