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Setting himself up for his own future on work placement

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Johannes Vosloo

Second-year engineering student Johannes Vosloo is "setting himself up for his own future" on a paid work placement in Queensland.

As part of his co-operative engineering degree, Johannes is spending six months at Riverside Marine Services, a Queensland-based company that has been operating, maintaining, designing, building, modifying and servicing vessels for over 90 years.

We caught up with him to find out how the experience is rounding out his uni work and what he plans to do next.

What are you enjoying most about your work at Riverside Marine Services?

What I like about the placement is that there is a range of things to do, and it’s not limited to marine engineering. I’ve been quite involved in the preparation of slipping vessels and the documentation that goes with it, such as scoping and estimating.

Because Riverside Marine is such a diverse company, I’ve also learned how engineering is applied in the tug, ferry and dredging industry. There’s something new to do every day, and with that I am learning something new every day.

There’s something new to do every day, and with that I am learning something new every day.

What does a typical day look like for you?

There is no typical day, I’m afraid. Most mornings start out with a toolbox meeting where we discuss any issues and new work. After that, I could be in the office doing design work or other slipping paperwork, or I could be in an engine room pulling engines out of a ferry! I am quite lucky that there is a good balance between the two.

How are you finding being away from uni and Tasmania?

Working full time can be tiring, and you have to get used to not having the free time you have at uni, but luckily what I’m doing is very interesting and I'm enjoying every second of it.

The biggest difference between Tasmania and Queensland is, of course, the weather. It gets quite hot up here, which can make engine rooms pretty warm. But the temperature’s getting cooler now, which is nice. I also have friends and family in Queensland, so it’s a massive bonus to be close to them.

Why is a work placement worth doing?

Well for one, you are setting yourself up for your own future. There are so many operational things that you can only learn on the job, such as preparing slipping blocks or scaffolding for transport, or understanding what products and equipment are used in the industry. It is knowing the little things that sets you apart.

Since networking is so vital in the engineering industry, a work placement is also an exceptional opportunity to increase your network.

You are setting yourself up for your own future.

What you want to do when you graduate?

This is still a little bit of a grey area, but I know I’d like to move into an operational engineering or project engineering role. I have a couple of placements ahead of me as part of my co-operative degree, and I’d like to do these in the offshore industry. Hopefully the experiences will help clarify what I want to do.

What is your advice to a student who’s considering the co-operative engineering program?

Just do it! As we say, you can always change to something else if you don’t like it. But you won’t know unless you give it a go! Riverside Marine is great - give them a call.

Published on: 07 Jun 2017