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Alan Williams

I currently work for Lloyd’s Register and have worked with them for the past thirty years in various Technical, Senior Leadership and Managerial capacities. I have most recently been responsible for a large team of service delivery support staff across North Europe and Change Management.

What first inspired you to pursue a career in the Marine industry?

My attic bedroom window overlooked the Irish Sea so on a daily basis, through a pair of binoculars, I could see ships passing by on their way to and from Liverpool. I tried to work out what type of ships they were, what shipping line they were from and where they were going. Nowadays, there is an ‘app’ for that. Where I grew up, as a port town, there is also a long history of Seafarers in my family. I would hear stories about these people from my father, who was also an Engineer Officer in the Merchant Navy. He shared the photos of far-flung destinations, and the oddity souvenirs around the house. I started writing to shipping companies for posters and freebies when I was eleven years old.

What is the best thing about working in Marine?

Marine can literally take you anywhere. Without ships, we would not have goods arriving and departing this country in the volumes needed. The industry can include Engineering Design and Manufacture, Shipbuilding and Repair, Ports, and Logistics, and many of the related services around the industry. From my own experience, it also means you can work outdoors, in the elements if you want, on the sea, and have a different career than one which is office-based.

What are the types of challenges facing young people you work with?

Young people face several challenges post-school/ college, and early careers stages. Knowing what you want to do when making GCSE choices is not easy. Neither is knowing what type of career you want, where you want to work, and what type of work you want to do. Opportunities are not always visible. Once in work, aside from performing their day-to-day job, young people will also have to quickly understand workplace norms, office politics, how to engage in meetings, and how to communicate and get ideas across.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone thinking about going into the Marine industry, what would it be?

Do as much research as you can, ask questions, and then simply make that first step and go for it. It may then take you on different pathways, and don’t be surprised about that. Be open to new experiences and challenging yourself.

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