Current employer: Sonardyne International
Current job title: Acoustic Surveyor; Trainer
Current location: Plymouth
“One of my favourite memories is going diving as part of my MSc studies to make sure that the artefacts I saw on the model of a wreck were correct.”
Tell us about your career path since graduation.
Since graduating I have been all over the world working for a Dutch dredging company. I have worked in a number of exotic places: some which people would love to visit and some that people definitely won’t want to visit. After five years working for this company I took a job specialising in acoustics and positioning, and two and a half years ago took up a role as a trainer in Plymouth teaching everything from general acoustics through to specialised acoustic and inertial positioning techniques.
Has your career path changed since graduation?
Since completing my undergraduate qualification, I have specialised in acoustic positioning rather than a more generalised form of hydrography.
What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?
One of the most difficult things I have faced is dealing with people from different cultures to get the job done. This means being able to build relationships to get the best out of your workers and, in certain parts of the world, simple things like planning surveys to allow time for prayers is a small gesture that is greatly received.
What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?
I was working on the Maasvlakte 2 in Rotterdam as a problem solver and was one of a team of four in charge of positioning the blockbuster 2, a massive crane lifting huge blocks over fifty metres to depths of over twenty metres with accuracies of +/- 5 cm’s. Overall, we moved 22,000 blocks over five years. I’m very proud to have been a part of that.
What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?
I would have gone into a hydrography field earlier. Unfortunately, I didn’t know about it until a snowboarding trip where a friend told me that I could earn really good money offshore, if I could handle the lifestyle.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?
Do a bit of free nearshore or offshore work before you undertake the course, to see if you like the lifestyle and the hardship of being offshore. Yes, the money is great but you do miss a lot of weddings, birthdays, and other significant events.
How did studying at Plymouth help you?
Studying at Plymouth definitely gave me a very good and broad base of information to build on when I started offshore.
What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?
One of my favourite memories is going diving as part of my MSc studies to make sure that the artefacts I saw on the model of a wreck were correct. I had never dived to such a structured plan, and to see its usefulness was amazing.
Do you stay in touch with other University alumni or lecturers?
Yes, the industry is so small that you will always meet people who were at Plymouth on different work sites – but more likely the airport bars all over the world. It is a good place to catch up and see what others have been up to.
Would you recommend undertaking a course with the University, and why?
Yes. I studied both my undergraduate and postgraduate degree at Plymouth. I came here because I love the sea, and the undergraduate course was just perfect for me. I came back to Plymouth for my masters because it is the best in the industry for training up the next generation of marine scientists.
Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?
Enjoy your time at university because it is so short. There were times at university I thought I would never finish, and these are now some of my fondest memories of Plymouth, knowing that I succeeded.
Inspired by this story?
For more information about our range of marine science courses within the School of Biological and Marine Sciences, please visit the school page.
Want to find similar alumni?
If you would like to find out what other relevant alumni are currently doing, please visit the marine, earth, geography and environment interest area.