So says an enthusiastic and cheerful Ingelin Herland at her temporary office in Singapore. She has spent the past three months there as part of DNV's Knowledge Booster programme, which is offered to the company's young employees around the world.
“The idea behind Knowledge Booster is that you travel to another relevant section in the company to learn something, or to teach others about something. DNV is a large international group with around 350 offices in 100 countries, so it's really only your imagination that sets the limits.”
DNV provides funding for the Knowledge Booster scheme and has an apparatus that assists with all the practicalities, such as visas, housing, taxes, and so on.
“I know of several people who have travelled abroad to participate in the Knowledge Booster scheme and stayed there. DNV is a knowledge company that takes a positive view of employees changing departments and finding something they are passionate about,” she adds.
Offshore power production and shipyard visits
For Ingelin, the way into DNV was a summer job two years ago when she finished her master's degree in Energy and the Environment from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Since then, she has landed a permanent job in the Group and acted as a technical advisor on renewable energy, with a particular focus on wind power.
“I’ve given some technical advice to banks and others that want to invest in – or lend money to - wind power projects. This has made me want to find out more about how to calculate the production capacity of wind farms, and they are also working on this here in Asia.”
In DNV, competence development is adapted to the individual employee's role, level, and own wishes. Employees are intended to learn 70 per cent directly from their work tasks, 20 per cent from knowledge-sharing via colleagues and networks, and 10 per cent from formal further education through courses.
“Right now, I'm working on an offshore wind farm project in Japan, calculating how much energy the farm can produce in different scenarios. Earlier this week, I prepared an offer for a similar onshore wind power project in the Philippines,” she says, adding: “I also recently visited a shipyard and looked at an HVDC platform together with my colleague Magnus. It was very interesting to get a proper impression of its size, and of the number of people and logistics required to construct such a platform.”
Instead of alternating current, HVDC platforms use high-voltage direct current to transmit power over great distances.
“The HVDC platform is currently being built here in Singapore and will be completed in April. It will then sail to Haugesund in Norway, where the electrical system will be installed,” adds Ingelin’s colleague Magnus Johannesen from DNV's head office at Høvikodden, just outside Oslo.
This mechanical engineer recently returned from a stay in Singapore where he took part in DNV's Knowledge Booster scheme, partly at the same time as Ingelin.
“There's no denying there are a few administrative issues to be dealt with in order to go abroad, so it's been good to have Magnus, who has gone through the process before me. I’ve asked his advice several times when challenges have arisen,” says Ingelin.
Valuable international experience
Magnus has previously worked extensively on offshore topics, but now he deals with ‘everything that floats’.
“I especially work on floating solar power, and there is a lot going on in this area in Asia. So when an opportunity arose to attend the Knowledge Booster scheme in Singapore, both I and my boss were positive,” he says.
Part of Magnus's time in Singapore was spent training the section there, as well as learning how they usually work on their projects.
“I have provided training in what is required in a floating system and held discussions with electrical engineers about how this system and the anchors work.”
When asked what the most useful aspect of the scheme has been, it is not the technical aspects he highlights.
“It's hard to point to one thing, but there are some cultural differences between Asia and Europe. You could say I've gained an understanding of how the culture works, and collaborate better with both my Chinese and other Asian colleagues. The discussions with my Asian colleagues are much easier now,” he states.
Ingelin agrees it is difficult to specifically quantify the lessons learned from the stay.
“I’ve received training in a specific service offered by DNV, and will continue to work on this when I return home, but the cultural exchange has also been a big and important bonus. What's cool about Singapore is that it's a real melting pot of cultures and nationalities. My colleagues on the wind and solar power team in the office include people from the US, China, Myanmar, Mauritius, Norway, and Singapore,” she points out.
Ingelin adds that she has also found time for both travel and other enjoyable activities.
“Today, I've been to the Norwegian Church Abroad and borrowed a waffle iron for International Waffle Day, so now I'm going to offer my colleagues waffles and brown cheese! Otherwise, I’ve also travelled quite a lot, and I just booked a holiday trip to Indonesia before I go home after Easter,” she says.