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Kai Jonasson

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Remco van der Voorden

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Remco van der Voorden

Age: 29, planning engineer, Hakkers Werkendam, NL

This article is also available in: Dutch

A profession that offers variety
"I like this work, especially the variety. I prefer projects that take two or three years than those that go on forever. Another great thing about this profession is that it is so down to earth: you arrive at an empty site and when you leave you have achieved something."

Engineer Remco van der Voorden is 29: "Actually I've only just begun. I passed the exams for my technical college diploma in 1996. Then I joined Hakkers Werkendam, a road and especially hydraulic engineering contractor. I had got to know the company during work placement from college. I really like the company: it has a flat organisation and short lines of communication."

And Van der Voorden quickly became ambitious. "After two years working on site I was promoted to the position of calculator/ planning engineer. My job is becoming increasingly commercial. It's down to us to choose the most professional and cost-effective solution. This means you must have a wide range of knowledge. The technical knowledge we learn at school. But it is essential that you can think in different ways. In my opinion, you learn to do so by doing many different projects, by learning from the people who actually do the work and by keeping up to date with the professional literature."

At Hakkers Werkendam, Van der Voorden also found a fascination for innovation. Hakkers is fully engaged via the Inside project of the Road and Hydraulic Engineering Institute (DWW) and the Civil Engineering Division of the Directorate General of Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat), and the Centre for Civil Engineering Research and Codes (CUR), on a project for new methods of strengthening dykes by among other things improving the ground.

Types of contract
Remco van der Voorden is also extremely interested in other, newer, types of contract. "In addition to the standardised conditions of contract, the RAW conditions, other types of contract provide opportunities such as turnkey contracts, design and execution contracts, and contracts concerning long-term maintenance and financing."

"This demands a wider orientation, a mind open to new ideas and a great degree of commitment. If for instance a new method is devised on the work floor to install purlins, we say: let's see how it works. This type of company culture, where initiative is rewarded, really appeals to me."

"It's the combination that makes the profession great. The variety appeals to me. Today you do one thing, tomorrow something else. But on the other hand it's hectic. Once we win a contract and start, it's hard work, often more than forty hours a week", says Van der Voorden. "But that is normally not a problem. In this company - and I have to say in the whole sector - you encounter the same enthusiasm."