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International perspectives on boat building

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Charlie Rae

Most second year undergraduates are still getting to grips with their studies on campus; not Charlie Rae.

He’s swapped books for sailboat building in Ho-Chi-Minh City, Vietnam, where he was snapped up by Seawind Catamarans—‘Australia's most popular design of cruising sail and power catamarans’—for a six-month Co-operative scheme placement.

His days are now spent designing new boat features, taking measurements, communicating with the shop floor, organising the interior arrangement and appliances, investigating certification requirements and compiling purchase orders for suppliers.

Charlie's is only the second international Co-operative program placement. What does the position in Vietnam offer over and above an Australian experience?

Perspective on the shipbuilding industry, definitely. Being able to compare the work environments in Australia and Vietnam, and knowing that there are opportunities for work in South-East Asia is a big plus, says Charlie.

Charlie impressed Corsair with not only his technical skills, but also his love of sailing—and the way he was able to communicate both during his interview. But he is still a second year. How is he finding the world of work?

“I’m working on a multitude of tasks associated with the production of the Seawind 1600 flagship 52ft sailing catamaran. With these tasks comes responsibility.

“A month into my work here and this responsibility has already been hugely beneficial to my technical drawing skills and shipbuilding knowledge, as well as being brilliant for my communication skills.

“The experience and guidance I’m receiving from my managers continues to be invaluable.”

The ability to communicate is the one aspect where an international placement could be seen as a disadvantage. How has Charlie found this?

“It is a challenge! But communicating with tradespeople who do not speak English has forced me to be very clear and efficient. Overall, I know this experience is beneficial.”

There’s life outside work too, with socialising a no-less important part of the experience.

“Socially it has been fantastic to interact with Vietnamese workers and ex-pats, with the experience expanding my understanding of life after university in the maritime industry.”

Published on: 29 Nov 2016