Helga

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“I have a Master of Science degree in Materials Technology and Engineering, specializing in corrosion protection, from NTNU in Trondheim, Norway, where I graduated in 2008.

 

I have been a part of the engineering team for the Martin Linge topside since basic engineering started in 2011, first in Stavanger in Norway and then in Paris, France. After several years of engineering work developing specifications for the project, I moved to Geoje, Korea, in March 2015 to be closer to the construction at the Samsung Heavy Industries yard. My day to day work here comprises translating the technical requirements we have developed into practical requirements for construction in close cooperation with our contractors, Technip and Samsung. I also do quality control work for painting and insulation, and try to go regularly out on site to ensure that we get the standard required by our contract.

 

To succeed in this role, I think that you have to be open minded and aware of intercultural differences – on my team, we have so many different nationalities and cultures, including Norwegian, French and Korean. It is important to be firm and clear when communicating, and it is a big advantage to be well organized and structured in your work, as the information flow and work load can be high.

 

Working in South Korea is very different to working in Norway –  it’s a great place to be, although the culture, the food, and daily life are very different. People here are friendly and especially fond of children. With my family, I enjoy spending time outdoors, and both the hiking paths in the mountains and the lovely beaches here on Geoje Island make that easy to achieve.

 

Being a young woman here in a very male dominated area was challenging initially. However, as I have gotten to know my counterparts in Samsung quite well, and they know that I can do my job, it is not something I notice very often any more. Challenges like this have made me tougher, and more certain in my skills and decisions. My favorite part of the job is that moment when you manage to solve a complex problem by working as part of a multi-disciplinary team, and you can see that the job that you do actually makes a difference.

 

What advice would I give to a young person wanting to build a career in this area? I would tell them to say yes to the opportunities that will pop up during your career! Especially at the start of your working life, when you do not have a lot of experience, it is easy to doubt your own skills and knowledge. Everyone has a contribution to make, and a fresh set of eyes can see things differently, and challenge the way things have always been done. That is the privilege of working for a company like Total – a lot of opportunities are available.

 

Being internationally mobile, at least during parts of your career, is a big advantage, as it will give you the opportunity to experience a wider range of challenges and opportunities to grow. Graduating from university, one of my biggest goals was to work on a big construction site like the Samsung yard, to gain as much experience as possible and to be exposed to many different types of challenges in a short time. Now I am living that dream!”