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Trainee programme that strengthens the Swedish maritime industry

24 March 2016

When Erik Larsson and Viktor Daun completed the master's programme Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering at Chalmers Shipping and Marine Technology, Norway was the major labour market for shipbuilders. Since then, the Norwegian offshore industry has lost its momentum and competition in the labour market at home has increased significantly.
But as the first Lighthouse trainees, Erik and Viktor found their way straight into the Swedish maritime industry.

- We applied for jobs during hard times.  The class that graduated last summer has had a tough time, so that we got our jobs is a proof of that the trainee programme works, Erik Larsson says.

Former classmates, Eric and Viktor are the first who have gone through the Lighthouse trainee programme. The trainee programme gives newly graduated Naval Architects from Chalmers and KTH the chance to spend a year in various maritime businesses, including a period abroad.

- You got some sort of picture from school that the industry was quite black and white, you end up in structure calculations or hydrodynamics and so on. When you come out and see different companies, the picture is more nuanced. That there is so much more you can do and so many different kinds of jobs, Viktor Daun says.

Useful experiences from different companies
Viktor, who currently works at SSPA, spent three months of the trainee programme in Korea at DNV GL, Stena and TTS Marine.

- Korea is so big on shipbuilding that many of the large companies have relations with the country. I learned so much about ships, the technical systems and the people working on board. But also about the relations with the yard from the owner's and from the subcontractor´s perspective, the entire shipbuilding process from that a need arises to the point where the ship is delivered. It was very, very valuable. Overall, experience from the shipyards is a shortage among shipbuilders in Sweden today. To gain practical experience and get to know how it works in a shipyard is important, Viktor Daun says.

- That experience I use daily now. Many of our customers are shipyards, and I have the advantage of having seen the industry from different perspectives, Erik Larsson says, who made one period abroad at Wärtsilä in Italy and Poland.

- It's a very big advantage that they send us abroad. I maybe didn't see the huge ships, but looked at how some very technically advanced offshore vessels were built and I was in an engine factory and saw how the engines were manufactured.  That’s difficult to see in Sweden, Erik Larsson continues.

Network that benefits everyone
To give a broad experience and a wide network is a goal of the trainee programme. As well as showcasing the width of maritime industries with various business activities and career opportunities. Erik Larsson is now working at Gothia Marine in Gothenburg.

- One of the main things that the trainee programme has given us is the network, and especially that it is a Swedish network. That, I feel my employer appreciates, it was partly what they were looking for, that I had a network, Erik Larsson says.

The network is not only a way into the labour market, according to Erik and Viktor, it’s also something that they and their employers will benefit from for a long time ahead. Both in terms of recruitment and in contact with clients and other companies.

- We will certainly benefit from this throughout our careers. That we have been in different places and got to know different people and can continue to provide contacts for many years, Erik Larsson says and continues.

- Also students come to us with questions, how is this or that company? Is it good? Who should I call? So I think it is particularly good for companies who have been a little more in the periphery of the industry.

Important to be proactive
Right now two new Lighthouse trainees are spending their time at various maritime companies and another trainee programme will start after the summer. A tip from Erik and Viktor for current and future trainees is to take initiative and be active at the various workplaces.

- The most important thing is to know that there are different conditions for companies to provide jobs and it is a responsibility of the trainee to help themselves, look around, to be there and be hungry to work and find tasks, Viktor Daun says.

- That's something we learn very much from, to work that way. And that's how you get contracts and customers in your working career as well, Erik Larsson says.

Today, Erik and Viktor spend their working days in the office or on-site with customers. Their work range from advanced mechanical calculations, noise measurements on site, energy efficiency studies, simulations and so on.

- There is still a long-term learning. I have eight colleagues who worked many years, and I listen, follow, gathers knowledge, and I hope to continue with that for a long time. And then, when you have accessed this knowledge, it would be fun to pass it on to new employees within the company, Erik Larsson says.

- There’s this value of learning things and constantly be curious about how things work. One day propellers, second day diesel engines, third day hull lines. To be hungry for new things and knowledge is needed as a trainee and it's something I live with still Viktor Daun saysText and photo: Andreas Kron

Read more about the Lighthouse trainee programme.

Erik Larsson trainee employers:
Alfa Laval

Viktor Daun's trainee employers:
TTS Marine
Caterpillar Propulsion

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