Wednesday 25th August 2021
Junior Systems Technician
We recently spoke to Melissa Webster, a Junior Systems Technician on board one of our fleet cable vessels to see what led her to choose a career in engineering, and what it’s really like working at sea.
When I was 17, I wanted to join the Navy, but my dad said no. So I ended up reaching out to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) as I heard there were a lot of job opportunities in engineering. I also successfully completed my Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Engineering, as well as my Cadetship which took 3 years. I enjoyed my time working for the RFA, but wanted to take my career in a different direction and challenge myself to learn and grow within in a new area of subsea. I spoke to Becca Walker who is a colleague at Global Marine and she inspired me to take up a roll in jointing.
Living on board a vessel is a very unique scenario. We all live and work within the 138 metre vessel. We eat together every day in the mess, exercise together after work at our gym club or play darts in the recreation room on an evening. Being away from friends and family means it’s important to socialise on board and it makes the time away so much easier when you have a great crew around you. We each have our own cabin that we call home which is small but comfortable enough for the eight weeks on board. The working pattern at Global Marine is exceptionally good, with eight weeks on and eight weeks off which means that I have a great work life balance. I get to spend quality time with my family when I am home.
My favourite part of being a seafarer is the people you meet. Since starting my journey, I have met people from all walks of life. I have sailed with people who live on the opposite side of the world and people who live in the same town as myself. It’s a diverse crowd that I am proud to be a part of. I’ve had so many life-changing experiences at sea, that have really helped shape and mould my career.
The travel side of this job was always appealing, and I count myself lucky to have visited so many countries already. I am now onboard Global Marine’s cable repair vessel, Wave Sentinel, and I’m looking forward to tackling offshore fibre optic installation and repair challenges. There is plenty of progression and opportunity to develop within Global Marine. Within the fibre optic cable field, there are plenty of options to move up through the ranks and improve my skills, which is very important to me.
My top advice to any women wanting to become an offshore engineer is that you can do whatever you put your mind to. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. For a woman in engineering, especially within the maritime sector, it can be challenging as it is still predominantly male-led. Ensuring you have the right mindset to overcome this can help you go a long way to ensuring equality within your role.