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Technical traineeship as a turbulent start

Philip van Loon , Trainee Engineer

He started out as an intern and is now employed by the Coastal division of Van Oord’s Estimating & Engineering (E&E) department. Philip van Loon has already gained a lot of experience and seen several projects worldwide in a short time. After his internship at Van Oord, he graduated from Delft University of Technology. In 2015, he started the technical traineeship programme, a turbulent year. Together with other young professionals Philip spend a year familiarising himself with the many aspects of dredging, marine engineering and offshore projects.

Philip tells us about his first posting abroad. ‘I joined Van Oord in 2013 as an intern and was immediately sent to Romania. Fortunately it wasn’t during a cold period, so I was able to work outdoors a lot. I worked as an Engineer for six weeks, and as a Superintendent on site and in the quarry for another six weeks. The internship convinced me that this was the world for me!’

Quick study

‘During my traineeship I spent twelve months learning the ropes in different departments. I also worked on two projects abroad and got to know a lot of fellow employees.’ As a trainee, Philip worked on projects in Costa Rica and Bahamas. ‘It was quite an experience. From day one I had to shoulder a lot of responsibility. It wasn’t always easy, certainly at first, but I soon learned to take decisions and solve problems in specific situations.

No two days are alike

‘No two days on a project are alike. I was a Superintendent in Costa Rica and responsible for the dredging works of trailing suction hopper dredger Volvox Atalanta. My job was to prepare daily and weekly reports, to prepare and install the floating pipeline installation, communicate with the captain and crew, arrange the logistics, and help optimise the production process. Thanks to my experience abroad, I knew how to put theory into practice. I’m much better able to size up a project’s potential. I keep this in mind while designing.’

Ideal traineeship candidate

Every year a group of (technical) graduates embarks on the one-year traineeship programme. ‘The trainees in my year all came from different backgrounds, but we also had a lot in common,’ says Philip. ‘I think the ideal traineeship candidate has to be enthusiastic, think positively, enjoy tackling problems head-on, and have an affinity for working abroad. They should be flexible and not afraid to stand up for themselves.’