Grace Heyman began as a graduate Naval Architect at Global Maritime after being surrounded by the energy industry her entire life, growing up in Aberdeen, Scotland. We sat down with Grace to learn more about her journey into the industry, her first impression of Global Maritime, and what her role entails.
Starting in 2021, Grace joined the company fresh out of university having completed five years to get her bachelor’s degree followed by her Masters in Naval Architecture with Ocean Engineering. Now, one-and-a-half years later, she has been promoted to Naval Architect.
But this wasn’t always Grace’s role at Global Maritime. When she joined during the pandemic, it was as part of the Marine Warranty team. Three months into the role, Grace decided her interest was in other specialist areas so was able to make use of the diverse range of specialisms within Global Maritime.
“I quickly learned that marine warranty wasn’t the role I wanted to pursue, currently. Speaking to my managers and others within the company, I was able to explore different areas of the business, talk to different people, and see what I was interested in,” she explains.
As a result, Grace moved to the engineering software department, which aligned more with what she had done as part of her degree at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.
To understand where her interest in the industry first began, Grace reminisces about growing up in Aberdeen: “Being from Aberdeen was definitely an influence on me. You’re surrounded by the maritime industry your entire life; my brothers went into engineering and oil & gas, and my dad works in the shipping industry. I would see all these large ships and I found it really intriguing,” Grace recalls.
But naval architecture wasn’t something Grace’s secondary school knew much about: “My school didn’t know naval architecture even existed as an option, none of the teachers knew anything about it. So, when I went to the open day at Strathclyde with my dad, I was looking at mechanical engineering, as this was the degree I initially applied for.”
“But during my visit, I realised that naval architecture was an option. Going into that course I thought I would be primarily designing ships. Then I realised it was much more than that and that the degree was just as applicable to offshore and renewable engineering, so my ambition slowly turned to those sectors,” she explains.
“When I joined Global Maritime, I was very enthusiastic about renewables and wanted everything I did to be related to it. Of course, that’s not always possible, but they were very open providing many opportunities to pursue different avenues within the company,” she recalls.
Grace remembers applying for the role within Global Maritime due to their work in the renewables sector: “I really wanted to make sure I was working on renewables projects at least some of the time. I didn’t apply for anywhere that was solely oil & gas focused, and so Global Maritime’s range of knowledge and expertise really appealed to me.”
“I never really knew about the consultancy world, either. It wasn’t something I was familiar with. But the more I learnt about it, the more it intrigued me. The idea of working on several smaller projects that are very fast moving and give you a different perspective of lots of different areas appealed more to me than working on a wind farm for instance, where that would be your sole project for multiple years.”
“With that, you’re working on one thing for a long time. Now, what I’m doing means I’m working on different projects anywhere from every two weeks to every three months, which I really enjoy,” Grace explains.
When asked about what she does on a day-to-day basis in more detail, Grace explained her time is split between two areas: “I work in the Jack-Up section of engineering and software. Here, we do site assessments – that means if someone’s installing a wind turbine, the vessel will go to the location, and they install it. But first, that location must be assessed to see if it’s suitable to for jack -up operations.”
"There is a lot of structural analysis required for this which has enabled me to diversify my skill set and work alongside our structural engineering team. One of the things I love about Global Maritime is being involved in such a diverse range of disciplines and continuously increasing my capabilities.” she says.
Grace recalls undertaking around a year of training for this role before taking on her own projects, which now accounts for around 70% of her role. The other 30% is working with the engineering team using Global Maritime’s engineering software, such as the Global Maritime discrete event simulation software, (OPSIM), to undertake research-and-development-based work with clients.
When asked about what she likes most about working at Global Maritime, Grace says the ability to work on projects she is genuinely interested in is a big part of it: “I’m given the chance to pick projects that I want to be a part of. If I’m interested in something, I can express that.” Grace also says she gets to work with the global team, not just Aberdeen: “Most of the time, I work with the team in London. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with other teams around the world, like Norway and Malaysia.”
Grace discusses some of the clients and projects she’s worked on including offshore wind developers: “one recent project involved a developer who was bidding into the Celtic Sea leasing round for a floating wind project. We were asked to look at the most appropriate method of launching the foundations and comparisons across different ports. This was also complemented by our OPSIM software and was a collaborative effort across our engineering and marine operations business streams.
On a final note, Grace shared her thoughts on working at Global Maritime: “It’s a very welcoming environment. Everyone is very nice and it’s just a really great working environment.”
Interested in learning about a career at Global Maritime? Visit the Careers section of our website to find out more.