For these people, working in the dredging industry is not just a job. It is a career and an avocation, one in which there is an emphasis on long-term personal development.
A worldwide business
Each of the major dredging companies, which operate on a global scale, employs thousands of people. Careers range from crew members on board dredging vessels to engineers working in offices and onsite. For those interested in a diverse, international career, the dredging industry offers many high-tech, high-level jobs
This includes a broad range of civil engineers – mechanical, electrical and environmental to name a few.
Dredging like all high tech businesses also needs people with skills in planning, estimating, design and project management, finance, administration, Human Resources, safety and commerce.
Innovative technologies, innovative people
The challenge of 21st century dredging and marine construction is to execute large, complex projects using cost-effective, sustainable methods. Because of these demands for innovative technologies and state-of-the-art solutions, the major dredging companies employ experts in a variety of fields. Many of the larger contractors have in-house research divisions that demand research scientists and innovators.
A career at one of these major companies means being part of a high quality workforce that works as a team. A typical team for a dredging project may include:
- financial planners;
- contract experts;
- project managers;
- site investigators;
- safety specialists;
- dredge masters;
- skippers and
Each of these jobs require specific education and training.
Types of careers
A small sampling of the types of careers at a dredging company include:
- Civil engineers;
- Information technology;
- Structural design engineers;
- Human Resource planners;
- Personnel & Organisation professionals;
- Quality-Health-Safety-Environment managers;
- Communication & Marketing experts;
- Project Engineers;
- Environmental, coastal, maritime engineers;
- Geotechnical and mechanical engineers;
- Electrical and electronic engineering;
- Project team managers;
- Risk engineers;
- Software engineers;
- Legal counsel;
- Crewmembers: Master, First Mate, deckhands, pipe/cutter operators, mechanical, electrical and software engineers, electricians and machinists
With so many projects at home and abroad, dredging companies are constantly recruiting new personnel on all levels to fill a wide range of positions, from dredging crews to research engineers, from jobs on-board vessels, to civil and maritime engineers and project managers in offices both in one’s home country or overseas.
Dredging companies seek people at technical universities, focusing on students in the fields of civil engineering, technical earth sciences, environmental science and industrial design. They also recruit people from other higher education organisations in shipbuilding, hydrography and maritime officers, safety/quality control engineer, surveying and dredging technology.
Other related areas of study necessary to the modern dredging industry include lawyers, contract specialists, economists and accountants.
Following a career path in dredging
Dredging and maritime construction companies nowadays depend on structured and structural education and training programmes – besides higher education at universities
and technical schools, they offer on-the-job training
. This includes internships and sponsoring PhD students.
Training may vary from classroom lessons in-house or online to using cutter and trailer simulators. Simulators provide a safe way in which to ‘train’ a crewmember to operate a modern, high-tech dredging vessel, while also limiting the chance of safety mishaps on board a working ship.
Sometimes e-learning and tailor-made plans for individual employees can enhance the work of an already able employee.
Continuing education is an important way in which employers support employees in further developing their intrinsic talents and improve their career paths. These programmes aim to transform “a job” into a career. They offer an employee a chance for growth and at the same time guarantee that the companies can transition into a successful future.
Careers in management
The larger dredging contractors are complex organisations that are able to reward their best and brightest with promotions from within. Management skills, independent initiative, as well as an ability to foresee where future investments in infrastructure will be made, are necessary to keep the companies functioning smoothly and profitably.
“Young Managers Groups” within the companies are a crucial way of targeting and nurturing talent within the company to receive further training for upper echelon positions. These are people with leadership qualities who are able to think long-term and imagine the next generation of technologies and projects.