I’m Bénédicte, I’m 24 and an engineer working for Chantiers de l’Atlantique, Saint-Nazaire, France. I studied Naval Architecture and Ship Structure at ENSTA Bretagne, Brest, France. I started work at Chantiers de l’Atlantique in 2020, where I completed a work-study. Graduating in 2021, I now work as a Methods Engineer in a workshop production, where I’m the link between the design office and the operational staff. We build cruise ships, among the largest in the world, which will then sail across all oceans. Previously, I completed different internships in shipyards based in France and abroad. I chose to work in the production field in shipyards because I wanted to be as close as possible to the realisation of projects and learn more about the technical aspects.
What attracted you to the Maritime world?
I find the maritime world impressive and extremely interesting. The design and manufacture of ships is a complex task involving many different skills. And above all, the shipyards on which I had the chance to work are gigantic!
In your maritime career, what is your proudest moment/achievement?
The first assignment I completed as an intern, was the retrofit of a reefer ship’s piping system. It was my first time on a ship of this type and I was very impressed. I was obviously accompanied by a whole team, but to think that it was my first project was a gratifying experience.
What guided you towards this path?
I discovered the maritime world rather late, because I lived all my life in the mountains! But I think that’s why I was always impressed by this universe that I knew very little about and that was for me synonymous with adventure and discovery. The internships I did in shipyards allowed me to discover a field with very diverse issues. There are many possibilities, working either in repair or in new construction and for boats of all sizes and types. I feel that I will always be able to find a job that suits me, even if my expectations change.
What is the biggest misconception about your job?
We often think that production is a difficult environment, with old and fixed methods. But it is a field that is constantly renewing itself, open to progress and where there are many projects to continually seek improvement.
It is also often thought that as a woman, finding your place is more difficult in a shipyard. However, the work atmosphere has always allowed me to blossom in the different places where I have worked.
What is the most exciting part of your day-to-day job?
My favourite thing to do is to initiate new projects and go out into the field to follow the progress of the work. There is always something to see and learn. I am also fortunate to work with people who are passionate about what they do and the interaction with them is always rewarding.
What would you say to young females thinking about any career across the maritime industry?
You must go for it! The maritime industry is full of opportunities to evolve in very different professions. We need people who are open-minded, who are aware to the needs and challenges of tomorrow, and who are motivated to work on large-scale projects.