Traineeships at Boskalis are oriented towards giving practical, in-depth experience of what Boskalis is all about, and what it’s like to work here. “I got to know a lot about different aspects of Fleet Management through my on-the-job experience,” says Harm Jan de Kok, a Mechanical Engineering graduate. “I like technical challenges, and my assignments have certainly provided them!”
Every six months the trainees come together for courses on health and safety, and short practice projects. A lot of this training focuses on soft skills: personal development and teamworking abilities. “I’ve learned more about myself, how I work and how best to cooperate with others,” says Harm Jan. “I use it more than I expected.”
Harm Jan’s first assignment was working with the dredging team in Papendrecht, preparing a pontoon for a project abroad. “Four days into the project, I found myself on a plane to Dubai! We were mobilizing a pontoon with all auxiliary equipment for a harbour extension project in Oman. I worked with the Fleet Team, sourcing items, purchasing them where necessary, making the loading plans and stability calculations. I celebrated my first success when the pontoon departed on time.”
His second assignment was for the maintenance cell which executes the vessel repairs within Boskalis. After working on plans in the Papendrecht office, Harm Jan joined the repair team on a vessel in Gdansk, Poland. “Great technical experience,” he says. “I really got to know our equipment and vessels.” His third assignment was preparing several pontoons for a dredging project in Helgoland, Germany. By no means routine work: specialized equipment has to be mobilised to handle the removal of potentially unexploded objects in one of the Helgoland harbours.
There’s no such a thing as a typical day in this business, according to Harm Jan. “You always have to be prepared for unexpected breakdowns or changes in project requirements,” he says. “There’s never a dull moment at Boskalis!”