Sebastiaan's life at Damen
My name is Sebastiaan Felius, I am 28 and work for Damen Shipyards. After graduating as a Mechanical Engineer from the University of Twente, I started as a General Trainee.
My first encounter with Damen Shipyards was at the Bedrijvendagen Fair. This is where I learned about the (international) internships that Damen Shipyards offers to students. After an interview process I was posted in the United Arab Emirates doing my three month internship for my Master degree. During my internship with Damen I was given a large degree of freedom with corresponding responsibility. I was encouraged by my mentor to find improvements and explore for the benefit of my assignment and Damen Shipyards. This positive corporate attitude was the main reason for applying to Damen after my studies.
At this moment I work for Damen Shipyards as a General Trainee. The General Trainee program is not similar to ones found in other companies. Since approximately 3 general trainees are accepted each year, the program is completely tailored to your strengths and interests. Together with an assigned mentor and a talent developer you are guided through the rotations which differ from trainee to trainee. The traineeship consists of three rotations during two years, one of them needs to be at an foreign yard. The idea is that you get a clear picture of the diverse scope of activities of Damen at different yards (i.e. New-build / Repair / Services / Components etc.). Even though the Trainees have different rotations, we do come together once every 4-5 weeks to exchange experiences, tips and issues. This knowledge sharing helps us to get an insights into other parts of Damen and how these operate together to make a ship.
My current role
Currently I am at the Services department, region Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. The work is as varied as the number of people you meet. I am in touch with almost every department of Damen, from the COO to the workshop floor and everything in between. It gives me a perfect opportunity to learn about all Damen products, services and clients. My current role is twofold: Project Services Engineer (covering warranty related claims) and the role of Regional Service Manager. The latter focusses on commercial activities related to the Service department such as: trainings, conversions, Damen digital (remote monitoring etc) and much more. Both positions include business travel around the globe (fun fact: as I am writing this I am flying over the empty quarter, Saudi Arabia) to meet customers and address their needs. During my first rotation I experienced the same amount of freedom and responsibility as I encountered during my internship. This translates that in my day to day job as General Trainee that I am seen as an equal to my colleagues, my input is taken into account and I am given my own projects and responsibilities. This also shows in the positions you can fulfil during your working career. In some companies your path is set for the coming 5-10 years. With Damen you have the freedom to develop in accordance with your strengths and what you like to do: you have the option to change, with reason, your career path to what suits you best. My next rotation will be in our biggest yard: Mangalia, Romania. So if you are somebody who likes to take ownership of complex issues in a multinational business environment and make decisions based on your technical background, Damen Shipyards is definitely a company for you!
One of the reasons why I chose to work for Damen Shipyards is the Damen corporate culture. It is very similar to the one found at the University of Twente. The doors are always open for any colleague, no matter in in what position he or she might be. After the first handshake you will be on first name basis. The company is loyal to their employees, sees them as a part of the family. If you have 40 or 50 years of service you get a parking sign which is yours and you can place it anywhere on the premises. The sense of community is also present throughout Damen, every building has their own bar where social gatherings are held. Young Damen is an organisation for everyone under 35 who organise many different activities such as: the Damen Ski experience, Race of the Classics, rally and much more. Damen Shipyards is a family company, you can see this by the little things which make the big difference. To conclude, I can recommend all of you to come and have a coffee at Damen and to explore the many possibilities this interesting company can offer.