Recruiting Fresh Talent for the Dredging Industry

Within the maritime infrastructure industry, the companies that comprise the International Association of Dredging Companies are known for their high-levels of expertise.

But outside the industry dredging in general is often little known and undervalued. Important progress is being made to communicate the dynamism of the dredging sector to a new generation and to underscore how essential dredging is to improve a country’s socioeconomic well-being and living standards.

Over the last 25 years the nature of dredging has changed dramatically. Not only maintenance dredging is seen as an economic driver. Capital dredging, land reclamation projects, expansion of ports and harbours, beach restoration, coastal protection and environmental remediation as well as supporting work for the offshore oil and gas industries form the backbone of the industry.

These projects are incredibly challenging and demand from employees curiosity, ingenuity and initiative. Dredgers are explorers, “finding” new lands of their own creation. State-of-the-art dredging equipment and vessels require highly trained personnel. And whilst dredging is a hands-on profession, it has an idealistic side – a side that looks to the future to improve the daily lives of people by constructing new infrastructure which leads to more jobs and goods and services.

The demands on dredging employees has broadened as considerably as the work and the environment within which dredgers work has grown ever more complicated. As Professor Kees D’Angremond writes in his article in this issue of Terra, projects are bigger, ships are bigger and dredging companies also need to think ‘bigger’ when looking for their workforce: “Society expects a larger span of control from its engineers, a vision of the consequences of the project, a rapid an adequate response if something unwanted or unexpected occurs”.

Each dredging project represents the hard work of hundreds of people: Engineers, dredging masters and their crews, project managers, scientists, researchers, specialists in all areas of maritime construction. Local people who have been employed and trained on site and employees who, sometimes at the drop of a hat, are deployed all over the world. Each project reflects expertise, enthusiasm, imagination, and professionalism. Through its website, IADC has taken the initiative to assist young people in finding appropriate studies in the maritime sector, as well as to ultimately guide them in finding employment within the industry.

IADC also encourages younger members of the dredging community through the “IADC Award for the Best Paper written by a Young Author” which is presented at selected conferences. In this issue of Terra two papers that received this award are published: One at the PIANC MMX Conference in Liverpool, UK in May and the other at the WEDA / TAMU Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico in June. In both cases, the insights of these young researchers have made significant contributions to dredging literature.


Source: terra-et-aqua, September 2, 2010