A day in the life of…Jozef Ochwat, Port Management Graduate, Humber International Terminal (Immingham)

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Can you tell us more about what you did before you joined ABP?

Prior to joining ABP on the Port Management Graduate Scheme in September 2019, I was a full-time student at London South Bank University where I completed a degree in Business Economics (BSc). In addition to my studies, I gained experience in a number of short-term internships, including at the Port of Ipswich. There I spent time with the operations, finance, marine and commercial departments, and I got my first taste of the exciting and fast-paced ports industry.

I’m originally from Ipswich and have worked part time as a marina assistant around my studies and during holidays at the ABP Ipswich Haven Marina.

I’m also passionate about swimming and competed at national level up until the age of 18. My commitment to the sport saw me train nine times a week at Ipswich Swimming Club and achieve finals appearances on the national stage as well as podium performances in the East region.

What did you find most appealing about the Graduate Scheme at ABP? How did you hear about the opportunities available?

I originally heard about the ABP Port Management Graduate Scheme during my internship at the Port of Ipswich. Following my time at the port, I began to really appreciate the diverse nature of the industry and after hearing that the graduate role had become available, I was quick to put through my application.

After completing my studies in a Business Economics I really wanted to begin a career in a company that has the ability to truly affect positive change and benefit the UK economy. ABP is a company that does just that. First-hand exposure to the large scale of imports and exports that come through ABP’s ports has only bolstered my enjoyment of working in the role, as I also focused heavily on learning about international trade at university.

The structure of the scheme was a great incentive for me to apply for the role.

The ability to gain experience in a number of different departments and ports across the company is great for personal development and provides exposure to all sorts of individuals with different responsibilities from quay-side to head office.

I’m currently based at the Humber International Terminal on an operations placement. My day is often focused around the productivity, planning and maintenance of the numerous different operations at the terminal.

My day to day tasks include taking part in weekly operations meetings, improvements to reporting procedures, new project preparation and providing general assistance to the Head of Operations at the terminal, where required. The exposure to all these elements has aided my development hugely and the team is always keen to get me involved in challenges they think would be of interest to me.

Going forward, I will commence placements in business strategy, commercial and compliance in different regions of the country. My responsibilities will vary across these placements and leave me with a strong foundation to continue my career in port management once my scheme is completed.

What’s the most exciting project you are currently working on?

I’m currently working on several projects based on the expansion and improvements to existing operations at the Humber International Terminal.

The first of which is my input to the expansion of the terminals storage and redelivery services to accommodate a further 450,000 tonnes per year of viable fuels for Drax power station. The project includes the expansion of our current lorry load-in facility and the repurposing of 3 on-site sheds to store the extra tonnage brought over the quay. The project has given me great insight into different aspects of operations, project management, engineering and safety in the implementation of such a large-scale service.

Another exciting project I am involved in is the utilisation of handheld mobile and tablet devices at the terminal and their applications for our operatives. This forms an initiative to improve asset management by supplying detailed reporting to the engineering department. This will ultimately help reduce stoppages and provide a more productive operation.

Who would you say is your role model/somebody you find inspiring in the maritime/business world?

As a former graduate himself, my current line manager and Head of the Humber International terminal Ashley Curnow has been very inspirational. He’s a great example of what can be achieved through hard work on the scheme and in the years following completion.

If you could give some advice to young people who would like to follow in your footsteps, what would it be?

I would highly advise any graduates completing their degree in the summer who have an interest in business roles to consider applying for the ABP Graduate scheme. My experiences in my short time with the company have been nothing but positive, with colleagues taking every opportunity to help my development and ensure I’m getting the best possible advice to develop my career.

My one most important piece of advice to anyone starting in an apprenticeship or graduate role would be to question everything. By questioning your colleagues with experience in the industry you will only improve your knowledge and understanding of the new environment you’re in and the reasons decisions are made. The power of a fresh set of eyes should not be underestimated. A clear view on decision making may even educate your team and help to improve processes for the benefit of the business.
My personal experiences have been nothing but positive and I truly look forward to the rest of my time on the programme.

Applications are now open for our Graduate Training Programme, find out more by visiting: www.abpgradcareers.co.uk