Keeping everything shipshape as a Chief Steward | HEROES | Atlas Professionals

Not everyone in the renewables industry is a technician or engineer. Take Adriana Szczesna, for example, who works as Chief Steward on a Wind Farm installation vessel.

Atlas Professionals offers a wide range of both onshore and offshore roles within the renewables market from engineers and technicians to client representatives, project planners and stewards. For instance, since May 2018, Adriana Szczesna has been Chief Steward on the Vole au vent, a large jack-up installation vessel built specifically for the execution of offshore wind projects. The vessel is owned by the Luxembourg-headquartered Jan De Nul Group and includes accommodation for 90 people. “I'm really pleased to be working on a wind farm installation vessel,” says Adriana. “I've always been a supporter of Greenpeace and environmental campaigns and believe that the development of the renewables industry will be better for all of us.”

Hands-on experience

Atlas professional Adriana works on a rotation of six weeks on and six weeks off. She oversees the onboard accommodation, co-ordinates her team to make sure all cabins are clean and tidy, and generally makes sure that the crew and technicians working on the vessel are happy and comfortable. “I'm in charge of five or six stewards, some of whom work in the galley, and some of whom work on the accommodation side,” she says. “I assign them their jobs, explain what they have to do and check their work. I don't think there's any training you can do to prepare to be Chief Steward, as such. At the end of the day, it's all about getting hands-on experience.”

Adriana always works in accordance with Atlas Professionals' 'Zero Harm' policy. This is an initiative which has been implemented since 2017 within the whole Atlas Group that aims to boost safety presence and awareness for all Atlas personnel. “The goal of Zero Harm is so important and is taken very seriously on the Vole au vent,” says Adriana. “All new crew members have an induction briefing with officers to ensure they are working to the highest safety standards. For instance, if they're cleaning they could be using chemicals that can be dangerous. They're also lifting heavy things and, if they're in the galley, must be aware of fire risks and how to work safely with kitchen implements. We always say: 'If you don't understand something, then just ask!'”

Love of travel

One of the things Adriana loves about her job is the travel. “I've been to the Gulf of Mexico, Africa, Asia and the North Sea,” she says. “If there's an opportunity to leave the vessel and do a bit of exploring, I take it. That's a big plus.”

Back on dry land, Adriana is planning a move to the UK from her native Poland. She'll continue to work on board the Vole au vent for the foreseeable future, however, and says her contact with Atlas Professionals has been something of a happy accident. “I had previously applied to Atlas for a job on board a vessel,” she says. “But when I received the offer for my current position directly from the Vole au vent, I found out that Atlas was the agency behind it! So it's worked out well.”

International environment

Adriana has encountered some career challenges during her time at sea, including being on board a rescue team vessel sent to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. “It was terrible to witness an environmental disaster up close,” she says. Ask her to pick a positive highlight, however, and she mentions working for Fred Olsen Windcarrier as an Ordinary Seaman/Deck Officer Trainee for two years from 2012. “I'm really proud of that because I was the only woman on deck and I was doing the same jobs as the guys,” says Adriana. “I'm pleased to say I was never treated differently — and I never wanted to be treated differently. 

Also, working as Chief Steward on the Vole au vent has been a highlight for me. I'm in charge of a good team and we all communicate well. I enjoy working in an international environment with a crew of different nationalities, too. That's really interesting, because I get to understand different cultures a little better.”

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