Simon Bird, age 28, qualified as a Marine Systems Engineer whilst working at Alloy Yachts under Ross Clapham, now one of our NZ Marine and Composites ITO field officers.
(In his own words):
After Alloy Yachts I wanted to get my Class 3 foreign going engineering ticket. So I managed to get a training position aboard an anchor handling and support vessel servicing the oil rigs down in New Plymouth.
I needed nine months sea time and then had to go the NZ Maritime School to do the theory side and sit the exams. After getting my engineering ticket I got a job back down there and worked as the 3rd engineering officer for the last 3 years.
I started at ETNZ 9 months ago and my role is hydraulic technician. It involves the fit-out and maintenance of the systems on the yacht. Also the monitoring and inspections of the systems while the yacht is on the water.
One of the most interesting and challenging parts of being involved in ETNZ is that we are constantly making small or big changes over night to make the yacht faster or perform better in different wind conditions. But you have to do your job perfectly there is no seconded chance, one bolt not torqued correctly, a new hose not crimped or swaged properly, a line not tensioned perfectly can cause a break down and lose you a race. As we have seen already with some of the other teams.
One of the best bits of advice I got was from this 70 year old chief engineer. “If you want to be a ship engineer, go build one first”. Basically he was saying that the skills you will learn doing an apprenticeship will give you the best practical foundation for any other engineering studies you want to do later in life.