One day you find the job of your life. Full of variety, in a multicultural environment, at a great company. And then you get to contribute to impressive steel constructions. That was the feeling welder Ken Joos had from day 1 at Smulders Projects in Hoboken (SPB).
How did you end up at Smulders?
“At my previous employer, the work came to a complete standstill because of the corona crisis, so I had to look for something else. I was a maintenance technician and welder in that company, and I wanted to continue in welding. On LinkedIn I saw a vacancy at SPB. I called immediately and was invited for an interview. It turned out positive. A stroke of luck, so to speak, because I did not sit at home for long. I am very happy that as a 25-year-old I can now pursue my passion for steel.”
Could you describe your work place?
“I am a welder in the Albert Hall at the Hoboken site, a production hall of almost 15,000m2 along the river Scheldt. A special location that allows finished structures to be shipped directly to places across the globe. In this hall, we mainly weld jackets, platforms and other constructions for the wind industry. Currently, I am working on visual repairs after welding to ensure that the welds meet all standards. Every day is different. Yesterday, for example, I was assembling.”
What about your induction period?
“My supervisor and the team supported me well. It was a bit of a search at first, because I was the first welder, among 20 colleagues and various contractors, who would switch jobs depending on the projects. We work with many non-native speakers and the communication runs smoothly.”
What are the points of attention?
“Every day we start with a briefing, a kind of toolbox meeting where our supervisor distributes the work. For each project, we get an overview of the customer's requirements. Furthermore, we focus a lot on safety, since we really have to aim for a 0 error rate. I think these guidelines are very important. People do not always see the danger and need to be reminded of it regularly. That is only natural in our sector.”
What do you like most about your work?
“It’s not just working on an assembly line, it is never boring. Sometimes welding those special connections makes it extra challenging, but it is still fun. I think it is unique to be able to work on very large constructions, such as the parts for the offshore transformer station for the Hollandse Kust (North) wind farm zone. When the result is finally installed at sea, we get to see a video. It allows you to show people who are not in the industry something powerful. I would actually like to experience it live, when a platform leaves.”
What do you appreciate about Smulders as an employer?
“You are one of the team. They look after you, also in terms of safety. The supervisors ensure that we get home safely. In my team, our supervisor always takes the time for a good talk. He is a good listener and everything can be discussed. I feel an enormous flexibility.”
How do you see your future with us?
“I was told that you have to seize opportunities and I certainly want to do that. I am eager to learn and helpful towards colleagues. I want to grow further: in my knowledge of our company, of welding and the types of techniques. For example, ‘Orbital welding’, a system which allows various diameters of pipe to be welded automatically, at high quality (TIG). Welding 8 to 9 metres of wire per minute becomes 20 metres per minute, or only 5 minutes of welding instead of 10 minutes. In consultation with my supervisor, I will look into this, so that we can also keep this expertise in-house.”
Who is Ken when he is not at work?
“A family man who likes a good balance between work and family. There is also plenty to do at home. I bought a house together with my wife who works in the customs sector. We have already done a lot of odd jobs and the large garden is neat and tidy – also for our dog. The best thing of all: we are expecting our first child (June 2021).”
What message would you like to pass on to other (young) talent?
“Be motivated and eager to learn. If you show what you can do and want, you will have a bright future and be able to earn a good living. With Smulders you have a great prospect. There are many jobs in the sector. And if you are working and you feel that the situation is not safe enough: STOP THE JOB, and discuss with your supervisor how to do it better.”
Young, but not rash... this Ken Joos!