Last summer, while shepherding some students through Europe, J. H. Stewart, a guidance teacher from Toronto’s Oakwood Collegiate, met Albert Plesman, son of the founder of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. As a result of their conversation. 275 Canadian students are spending this summer working in Holland.
Stewart pointed out to Plesman that Europe needed unskilled workers and Canadian students wanted summer jobs, but few young Canadians could afford a trip to Europe to look for work. KLM undertook to find jobs for some of them. By May, 275 positions—mostly menial jobs in factories—were available, and KLM had more applications from students than it could hope to fill. The lucky 275 students paid their own fare to Holland on KLM planes. Besides finding them jobs, airline officials helped them with passports and lastminute inoculations.
The students don’t make much money; in fact, they show a loss on the summer. Before going to work, they have a week for sightseeing. Then they
start earning from 60 to 90 guilders a w'eek—a guilder is worth about 30 cents —as unskilled workers.
Most of the students get on well with the Dutch, who remember Queen Juliana’s stay in Ottawa during the war and the Canadian troops who liberated the lowlands. A few, like the girl who was mortified to discover she had been hired to wash out refrigerators, have asked to come home early. To help the Canadians over the rough spots, KLM recently sent its market research director from Montreal to Holland to act as a guide and counselor for the students.
But most of the students are happy with the chance to earn and learn in Europe—one of the Molson boys, for instance, is working in an Amsterdam brewery—and KLM is happy with the way the experiment has worked out. The airline paid out about $5,000 to help the plan along, but it took in about $130,000 in fares from the students. Next year KLM plans to fly over more students and to help some of them find jobs in Dutch factories in other European countries. SHEILA KIERAN
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