My name is Jacqsel Sumter, I’m 35 years old and I’m from Curaçao. After secondary school I immediately enrolled at the Damen training center. At the time this was still the dry dock company. I currently work as a pipe fitting supervisor at Damen.
How was the training you did at the time?
When I finished secondary school, unfortunately there weren’t any spots left at the MTS and my mother wasn’t going to allow me to stay home. She then read about the practical training at the dry dock company and enrolled me. Because I came straight from secondary school, it was completely new. Boys who had previously done the LTS were already used to working with their hands. For me, it was a whole new experience.
What is your specialty?
My specialization is pipe fitting. That is making and repairing pipes. Everything on a ship where liquid is supplied or discharged goes through a pipe. Depending on the liquid, the material of the pipe is determined. I learned all of this during my training and found it very interesting. The core of the profession always remains the same, but as the technology develops, you learn something different every day. This is how you develop yourself on the job. Every time you think you know everything, there is a new development.
What do you notice about the trainees that work for you?
There are always different groups of trainees. Young people who naturally have great drive, but also youngsters that need to be guided or motivated just that little bit more. I do my best to help them on their way, but the will and enthusiasm must come from within. How well you do the work and get through the training is entirely up to you.
What future prospects do the young people who follow the training have?
There is a lot in store for the ones who complete the traineeship successfully and then go straight to work. There are many possibilities. Speaking for myself, I can say that I’ve really grown into the job. I started as a pipe fitter, then I became a team leader, then a junior supervisor and now I’m a supervisor. After this I can hopefully become head of the department. Anyone can grow in this field and get a permanent contract.
Why would you advise young people to follow this training?
If you have serious intentions, you have huge growth opportunities in this industry. There will always be ships, whether they are passenger ships, oil ships or container ships, and they will always need maintenance. If you master your profession well and have the right mentality, you will always have work.
‘If you work at mastering your profession, you will always have work and career opportunities in this field. With the right mentality you also have the chance of a permanent contract.’
– Jacqsel Sumter