I chose to study at the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering after attending an open day. The facilities impressed me; the towing tank and model testing, the software packages for modelling and analysing various aspects of ships, showing far more variety than the many other courses I had looked at. The department also had a very good reputation, and is a centre of excellence for Engineering.
My experience of the degree course and the department was a highly positive one. It is a department that attracts students from a wide variety of countries and allowed me to make a lot of very good friends from many different backgrounds. The activities I enjoyed the most were the many group exercises and design challenges. In my second year we had to design and build radio-controlled racing yachts and test them in a series of races in a nearby lake. Classes like that just don't seem like studying!
There is a wide variety of classes taught in the department with a mix of core subjects and elective classes. In later years there are many chances to pool your knowledge gained from the various areas of study and use it to complete full conceptual design exercises of a variety of different craft. This was probably the aspect of the course I found most satisfying.
An example of a personal highlight for me was my Honours year project where I investigated the sailing difficulties of an old style sailing ship. As part of this project I spent time aboard a ship over the summer break and set up a data collection system for analysis.
The Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering has close links with industry, both in the UK and abroad. A great amount of attention is paid to meeting the actual demands of prospective engineering employers which is enhanced through the provision of courses that develop essential non-engineering skills such as finance, economics, business management and presentation skills.
After completing work experience in the summer of 2005 with a company called Noble Denton in Aberdeen I sought a career as an engineer in the Oil and Gas Industry. During my final year I applied for a variety of different companies and finally chose to work for Production Services Network (PSN).
PSN is a major service contractor to oil and gas exploration customers providing engineering services including project management, engineering, construction, commissioning, operations and maintenance. PSN is a global organisation with many offices around the world. I work in the company's Advanced Integrity group as a Structural Engineer and the group's Naval Architect based in the headquarters office in Aberdeen. For the first two years in the role I took part in a variety of different projects including advanced structural integrity analysis of cranes and blast walls, detailed design work on a platform bridge link, complete lift and transportation analysis of a 2500te living quarters module, a concept decommissioning study of a 14000te jacket structure and many activities regarding the ongoing operation of an FPSO. My Naval Architecture background allows me to fulfil a unique role in the group with the benefits and responsibilities that entails. My work is mainly office based but involves trips offshore and a recent highlight has been a week in Houston attending the Offshore Technology Conference.
I am currently seconded from PSN to ExxonMobil where I work in their office in the centre of Melbourne as the Structural Integrity Engineer in Exxon's Inspection Engineering Group. This role is a big change from my work back in Aberdeen and involves ensuring the ongoing structural integrity of Exxon's eighteen offshore platforms in the Bass Strait, two onshore gas plants and a Marine terminal.
My Naval Architecture course was thoroughly enjoyable. It has given me long lasting and strong relationships with my class mates and staff together with the best possible start to a career that I find as rewarding as it is challenging.