Name: Alistair James Barnes
University and degree: University of Southampton, Ship Science
Job title: On the marine graduate training scheme at Lloyd’s Register
What do you actually do? I am being trained to become a field surveyor. My work has been very varied — from practical field surveying to office work such as approving plans for structural details as well as plans for machinery items.
Were you always interested in Engineering as a career? I was never interested in spending long hours in the office even if the money was great, and hence I chose engineering so that I could have a life after work.
How did you find out about this particular job? My dad has always been in the marine sector so I have heard about Lloyd’s Register over a long period of time. My tutor at university was also very keen on Lloyd’s Register, so I went along to their presentations to find out more.
Would you undertake further study to progress in your career? The direct answer to the question is no, however I am working towards my chartered engineer status by building up a portfolio of my work experiences to prove my competency as an engineer. There is no further studying as such.
What do you most like about what you do and are there any downsides? The practical aspect of my job is very good. Working in the field is very different to working in the office and I like to make decisions in the field relying on my previous knowledge to make the best decisions. An added bonus is getting to see the world! Within the nine month London placement, moving around within departments can be a little hard, as by the time you have learnt the workings of a certain department you are off to the next. However, practical placements are long enough to allow you to settle in and fully understand the work at hand and start making useful contributions to the team you are working with. The moving around is a perfect chance to build up your contacts in case you ever require any specialised assistance.
What skills do you think you need to succeed? You need to be a logical thinker and be ready to assess what you see in an honest light and be strong with your decisions, regardless of the financial pressures you might be being put under. With the moving around on rotations you need to be ready to ask questions and be happy to meet new people.
What would be your best advice to people wanting to come into this sector? My best advice would be to remember that you are only a trainee for a couple of years so make the best use of your time, ask all the questions you can think of and make the most of the opportunities presented to you, after that you are expected to know! To work in the marine sector you have to have a passion for the ocean, it’s not a normal job, it’s more of a lifestyle!