The pool for talented, motivated employees for Boskalis is relatively small and there are many companies fishing from it. Boskalis’ Building with Nature philosophy plays a significant role when choosing a new employer. Learning & development manager Mischa Strating-Veth, recruitment manager Ingrid Karelse and trainee Sarah Sangster explain why.
Uniting meaning and work
In her previous job Mischa headed a survey into millennials, the large generation of workers and potential and actual jobseekers born between 1980 and 2000. By 2025 around 75% of our work force are expected to consist of millennials. Mischa: “There are two things that are very important to millennials: awareness and meaning. Millennials are employees who have been raised on topics like the environment, health and safety – by their parents, but also at school. The result is a new generation of employees who have reservations about the consumer society and want to contribute to a sustainable society. A generation that maintains strong values and wants to see these represented at their place of work. Linking your personal values to those of an employer is very important for this generation. In general it creates a good and lasting match.”
Power of eco-engineering
Mischa continues: “Many companies believe that it’s important to communicate a CSR plan, but millennials don’t need a CSR plan to convince them. They simply assume that a company will operate in a socially responsible way. Otherwise it will simply not even be a contender. So it’s not about a company broadcasting that it conducts its business responsibly, but about demonstrating that it genuinely is responsible. And that is precisely where Boskalis can set itself apart and is also the power of our eco-engineering expertise. Building with Nature is a tangible innovation program, with projects that capture the imagination. Projects that deliver a personal contribution to a better world. Building with Nature allows us to give students and young professionals a real opportunity to unite meaning and work.” Ingrid adds: ”We maintain close relationships with Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and other educational institutions by sponsoring student projects, maintaining contacts with student associations and organizing company days. Moreover, many colleagues are directly involved in teaching and research at universities. That means that a program like Building with Nature does not go unnoticed, as is evident from the applications by recent graduates and young professionals who often mention eco-engineering as a reason for choosing Boskalis.” A successful example of this is Sarah Sangster, one of our trainees, who won the Hydraulic Engineering Award on 10 November 2015. Mischa adds: “I also believe that Building with Nature is important for retaining our current employees for the long term. Because eco-engineering has a great attraction for every generation.
The 'green gateway'
Sarah Sangster has been working as a trainee for Boskalisin Mexico since September 2015. Following an eight-month graduation project at Boskalis, in May 2014 she concluded her MSc in civil engineering at Delft University of Technology with her thesis De Groene Poort in Rotterdam. In November 2015 her thesis won the Hydraulic Engineering Award, a prize awarded each year to students studying hydraulic engineering or a related subject by the Dutch Association of Hydraulic Engineers.
Sarah’s thesis explores ways of combining a port’s economi cobjectives with a targeted approach aimed at enhancing biodiversity. One of her research topics involved looking at the distinctive role that ports and other delta regions play in marine life, particularly for migratory fish such as sturgeon and salmon. The conditions for fish in a port area can be improved through relatively simple measures. Sarah proposed building dams to create still areas along the banks to provide shelter for fish. There are also ways of improving the fishes’ food supply. “Fish eat small crabs and worms,” explains Sarah. “Their presence in the port can be boosted by opting touse sandy material for revetments and using dredging spoils to create artificial flood plains. With the aid of the tidal flow this will allow new types of plants and animals to establish themselves, which in turn makes the port area more attractive to new bird species.”
“Good ecosystems are crucial to the future of the world and therefore of the human race,” says Sarah. “That is also one of the principles underlying the Building with Nature philosophy. Boskalis leads the field of eco-engineering, mainly due to the fact that it has a great deal of ecological knowledge as well as all the technical knowledge. For me that was an important reason to want to work for Boskalis.”