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Ideas don’t just sit on a shelf gathering dust

Esther Dijkgraaf , Production Engineer

‘I did my internship at Van Oord while studying for my Bachelor’s. I liked it so much that I decided to do my graduation project here too. I studied Civil Engineering (Delft University of Technology) and majored in Offshore Engineering, with Dredging Engineering as my area of specialisation. My graduation project took a full year. The nice thing about doing my graduation project at Dredging Research was that it involved real research but without ever losing sight of actual practice. Nothing was vague, the research was directly focused on production improvements or new developments on board the vessels. That innovative aspect really appealed to me.’

Technical calculations

‘After successfully completing my studies, Van Oord offered me a job, and I now work as a Production Engineer in the Estimating & Engineering Department. I am constantly busy with research and development work for our projects. My work includes performing studies and making designs, both during tenders and during project implementation. Specific examples of this work include technical calculations, climate studies, interim analyses based on changing site-specific factors and the final analysis of work methods. I love my job.’

Putting ideas into practice

‘I don’t just enjoy seeing ideas put into practice, I find it educational as well. Fortunately, my colleagues on board share this view. During the dredging project in Darwin, Australia, for example, the crew performed independent tests using sensors installed on the vessels. This ensured that every change was noted so that the dredging process could be continually optimised at the crew’s direction. This work is not just enjoyable, it is crucial to remaining competitive.’

International, with each project a challenge

‘Because Van Oord is an international player, I often stay abroad for projects and have frequent contact with my colleagues in other countries. While this makes knowledge of other cultures important, knowledge of the laws and regulations that apply in those cultures is at least as important. On top of that, each project has its own framework of conditions and these often extraordinary situations add a great deal of variety and challenge to my work.’