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Working on an offshore wind farm

Martin Kershaw , Works Manager

‘After getting my Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Civil and Marine Engineering, I started working for a drilling company. It didn’t take me long to realise that I wanted to work abroad, which is how I became part of the dredging world at Van Oord. After years of ‘drifting’ from project to project, I returned to the Netherlands and was appointed to the position of Works Manager in the Offshore Wind Projects business unit, Van Oord’s newest division. The Eneco Luchterduinen project, an offshore wind farm off the coast of Zandvoort, the Netherlands, is one of the many projects I’ve worked on. Along with a team of 14 colleagues, our work included tasks such as supervising the offshore installation vessel the Aeolus and determining how the wind turbines could best be transported and installed. Thanks to these accurate calculations and thorough engineering work, the job was finished way before the deadline.'

Performance

‘We delivered an enormous performance. In two months’ time, the high-tech installation vessel Aeolus drove 43 foundations into the seabed. The foundations could be installed quickly thanks to a specially developed 'grab' that can keep the foundation piles vertical and in place while they are driven. The Aeolus is also equipped to be able to transport four wind turbine foundations at once. Usually only two can be transported at a time. I was enthusiastic about the Aeolus when she was still being built, and I’m even more enthusiastic about her now. I’m happy that the vessel has garnered so much praise and attention within the sector and that she won the Shipping Award conferred by the Royal Association of Dutch Shippers (KNVR). If you ask me, the victory was completely deserved.’

Improvements

‘We benefit most from a rapid installation process. The more foundations you can install in a short period of time, the more money you can earn. That is always the premise, not just in offshore and offshore wind, but in dredging as well. In addition to my work at the office, I regularly visit project sites to talk to colleagues, both on shore and on board. We explain our plans and contribute to solutions. Of course, everything we think of in advance has to help with optimising execution. Thanks to my experience abroad, I know the dynamics at play on a project and I have broad knowledge of the organisation.’ 

Flexible

‘It doesn’t bother me that I don’t have a fixed workplace or know what I’ll be doing in the next few years. I really like the flexibility, which is why working at Van Oord is such a good fit for me. Every person who works here is driven and passionate about their profession. I enjoy the atmosphere at work, there’s an overall feeling of team spirit and a sense of responsibility. You’re never left hanging on your own. On top of that, Van Oord has good employment benefits. You’re rewarded for your efforts, not just financially but also with trainings, courses, and opportunities for advancement.’