My name is Jurgen Rodrigues and I’m from Curaçao. I’m 58 years old and I’ve been working at Damen Ship Repair for 29 years, formerly the Curaçao Dok Maatschappij. I studied Labor Relations, Staff and Organizations in the Netherlands. I’m the Chairman of the Board at SMTC and HR Manager at Damen Shipyard.
Why was SMTC founded and what is the purpose of the foundation?
SMTC was founded by Damen Ship Repair and was created based on the need for local professionals in Curaçao. At the time, there was no local training for ship repair. This meant that Damen had to invest in training our people. Nowadays, several companies affiliated with SMTC are able to train their staff and organize traineeships. This way you create local competitive forces; there are enough professionals on the island, and you don’t have to bring in people from abroad.
How do companies benefit from having the traineeships take place at SMTC?
Thanks to our large network and thorough professional knowledge, we’re able to purchase trainings smartly. The online training options offer a lot of perspective in this as well. We also combine training courses of different companies. This way we spread the costs, while at the same time increasing the level of the people. We receive a small subsidy from the government as the training we provide benefits local employment.
What can SMTC mean for the sector in the future?
In the long term, we want to help the government in the maritime and technical sector within the port area. This way we can prepare people for the developments that are coming in the changing labor market. Thus, we contribute to the sustainable development of the Curaçao economy and the further development of the port area in Curaçao.
What kind of training courses are mostly taken?
We use SBO level 2, 3 and 4 modules from the Netherlands, because we want people to perform at the same educational level. Should we happen to send people to another international site to provide support, then it is essential that the level and job description are compatible.
What kind of students can follow the traineeships?
The most important competencies are discipline, loyalty, and ambition. Students have to take competency tests, do several interviews, take physical tests in the shipyard and a medical examination. These are professions that come with great responsibility. You have to be fit and healthy to enter the program.
What is your advice to candidates regarding education / study / future?
Don’t forget that these are responsible and physically intensive positions. If you are motivated to take on this challenge and you have the right competencies, do not hesitate to sign up!