‘There’s something magical about those giant crane vessels and platforms’

An interview with Rianne Tiggelman (32), born on the former South-Holland island of Goeree Overflakkee. After leaving secondary school she followed a secretarial training course at the Schoevers institute. Rianne joined the sales world in 2013 and two-and-a-half years ago put her experience and considerable motivation skills to good use as account manager for FMTC Safety. Her role involves overseeing the accounts of a number of major clients and includes visiting both them and networking events.

Tell us a little about the work of FMTC Safety

“FMTC is an offshore safety training centre. We ensure that all the men and women who work in this sector – whether that be on a platform, working vessel or wind farm – can attain the required certifications. Examples include OPITO, NOGEPA (oil & gas), GWO (wind) and STCW (maritime).”

You’re standing next to a swimming pool in the photo. What’s that used for?

“The pool is needed for courses such as ‘Helicopter Underwater Escape Training’ and ‘Sea Survival’. What should you do if you land on water? How do you escape from the helicopter, stay visible to the rescue helicopter, and lessen the chance of hypothermia? All this and more are taught in the swimming pool.”

How large is FMTC?

“We are the market leader in the Netherlands and have the ambition to be the same worldwide. There are already FMTC locations in the United States, France and Saudi Arabia which have more than a hundred training courses scheduled per day. People can simply sign up for these, and the course will go ahead even if there is only one participant. This is a unique selling point for us.”

What does your role as account manager involve?

“I work in the sales department and am responsible for the account management of FMTC clients. I draw up contracts, maintain and expand client relations and ensure a smooth daily course of affairs together with three sales colleagues from FMTC in the Netherlands, France and Saudi Arabia.”

How did you end up in this industry?

“That’s quite the story! I’m not originally from the offshore world. Leaving school I went to the Schoevers institute to train as a secretary but found the work rather monotonous. I then ended up in sales through a contact. And then, 2.5 years ago, I saw a vacancy at FMTC and felt like it was meant for me!”

How so?

“I am a big fan of large working vessels and drilling platforms – they’re like magic to me. It’s just so impressive that something so enormous stays afloat. I once got up in the middle of the night especially to see a large crane vessel sail into Rotterdam. As you can understand, working for the offshore sector was high on my wish list.”

Do you get the chance to board these vessels in your job?

“Occasionally, yes. I’m sometimes given a tour onboard by a client or attend one of our onsite training courses. I enjoy talking to the people I encounter to learn how we can better address their needs. On other days I may visit clients onshore or attend network meetings or events. But I also spend a lot of time here in our own offices in Amsterdam or Dordrecht, working on figures in Excel or drawing up new contracts.”

What do you enjoy most about your work?

“Building a relationship with clients and acquiring new contracts. It’s a genuine buzz when we succeed in this, and resolving emergency situations also gives me an adrenaline rush. I remember at one point getting a phone call at six in the morning on a bank holiday. A company needed to put a man on a helicopter in Den Helder before the end of the afternoon, but his FOET certification had expired – an essential piece of paperwork for going offshore. My team and I pulled out all the stops to organise a training course in Amsterdam that same day… And we did it! At 16.00 he was in the helicopter, certificate in hand. Those are just the best moments.”

Is it unusual to be a woman in the offshore industry?

“It is generally a man’s world. When you look around at network events or socials it’s obvious that most people attending are male. But that doesn’t stop me. I can more than hold my own and don’t feel I have to work ten times harder to achieve something.”

What would you say to other women considering a job in offshore?

“Give it a try! There’s no point pretending you’re someone you’re not. Just be yourself, show an interest in the client and the world around you, and you’ll be just fine, regardless of gender.”

AYOP aims to highlight the diversity in work in offshore, both to create more awareness of the sector and attract more people, and to give employees the recognition they deserve. This series focuses on several companies. Previously, we published an interview with Marcel and Chris from Equans,  Jordy d’Hondt and Torben Verleg from Bluestream, Dennie Koningstein from DHSSJoep Riksen from C-Ventus. and David van Baak from REYM.