We learn new things every day. Jill Witkamp Roberts helps young adults achieve their academic but also their life goals. Five years ago she founded Palma College Sixth Form Studies and now enjoys guiding her students, giving them the tools for life and seeing them grow into self-confident adults.
About Jill Witkamp Roberts
Where do you live? Palmanyola
What are your main interests and hobbies? Sailing and walking. But most of all spending time with my husband, two beautiful daughters (when they are on the island) and my adorable grandson.
From Marketing to running a College
What is your current profession? I’m the owner of Palma College Sixth Form Studies.
What have you studied or worked as before? I started working straight out of school on a diversified career path. First in the UK as relief pub & restaurant manager. Then I worked and studied my way up to marketing executive of Comp-U-Card who were at the forefront of the internet movement. After moving to Holland I started my family (the biggest and most pleasurable job I have ever had and still have) and worked in the off shore industry. Then we moved to a small island off the coast of Holland, where I taught English. My husband and I both come from families who owned businesses. So later we decided that was what we wanted to do also. This lead us to combining his passion for sailing with taking over a yacht management company here in Mallorca.
The Beginnings of Palma College
How and when did your career as an entrepreneur start? About ten years ago, I was approached by a group of parents who were hoping to start a college. They were looking for someone to help set up, run and market it. Nothing came of it in the end. But it gave me the first idea that there was a need for a dedicated sixth form college here. A few years later my own daughters decided to go to the UK for sixth form as they could not study the subjects they wanted to in Mallorca. When they were at college I saw the benefits of them being in an environment with only students of 16 years and older. I knew there was a market here on Mallorca. However, I’m a business person and not an academic educator. So I could not take it further until I met Ali Lawrence. We soon realised that we shared the same ideas and beliefs about the college and wanted to take it further.
A rewarding Job
What do you love most about your job? Every day is different. Seeing students develop and grow into well round adults is the most rewarding part of running the college. It has been amazing seeing how far they come in such a short time. Whether it is their skills in art, acting, academically or in life. Plus their understanding of what they want and where they fit in.
What fascinates you about education? That we never stop learning, I learn new things every day.
Future Plans and Wishes
Can you tell us more about your current projects? Palma College has now been open for five years. Our aim is to not only help students achieve their academic aims, but to guide them to university or chosen career path and give them the tools for life. Students are treated as individuals and all our policies are based on respect. We feel that these couple of years of education are very important. That is why we chose to be the first wholly dedicated sixth form college on Mallorca. Palma College is not for everyone and we interview prospective students. We are exactly where we hoped to be and reached our maximum number of students last year. But you can never stand still and we are consolidating what we do best while also looking at other opportunities to complement what we already do.
Where do you see yourself in the future, what would you like to accomplish? Ideally, I always try to be contented in the moment. But that does not stop me from looking for new challenges. And who knows where they will lead me.