Elizabeth Walsh

Marine Engineering Systems/Piping Designer

Allswater Marine Consultants
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Why did Elizabeth choose this career area?

Elizabeth’s brother studied engineering and ended up working in the offshore oil and gas industry. He told her about the great jobs available for people with marine expertise. Elizabeth got the same message from friends in marine transportation programs, so she decided to heed the advice.

What’s Elizabeth’s educational background?

Elizabeth completed a Diploma in Marine Engineering Systems Design at Marine Institute. She gained technical experience through a summer job with Fleetway in Halifax, NS. She worked there as a Junior Mechanical Engineering Technologist, gaining the kind of skills that enriched her program and her job prospects. In the future, she plans to earn a Bachelor of Technology degree by taking online courses.

What’s Elizabeth’s job all about?

Elizabeth works on major projects for clients, engineers, and naval architects. Her favorite part of the job is going on site to see the ships and rigs she has helped to design. Because she works with modern 3D design tools, she has a clear picture on her office computer of what things will look like. From her perspective, though, nothing can beat seeing the designs come to life in the shipyards.

Elizabeth actually drafts detailed piping design and production drawings, produces calculations for these designs, and itemizes required parts and materials. She also drafts structural, layout, and assembly production drawings. Her more general duties include assisting with quality control and writing reports. In a dynamic design shop, there’s always plenty of challenging work to be done.

What are Elizabeth’s working conditions like?

Elizabeth is lucky enough to live only a 10-minute walk from her office. On bad days, she has a 2-minute drive.

She usually works eight-hour days, with overtime if required. Hours are flexible; design offices usually allow employees to pick their hours and take time off as needed. As long as the 40 hours a week get punched and the work gets done, it all works.

Elizabeth notes that the staff is supportive of each other and works well as a team. It’s a very positive and productive environment.

What benefits are associated with Elizabeth’s job?

The salary range for this field varies, but the typical start salary after graduation is $50,000 plus. People like Elizabeth who work on contract tend to make more money. They don’t get the same holidays, but they can work extra hours to cover off any leave.

Training is an important job benefit for Elizabeth. In order to keep pace with the design industry, she must have cutting-edge skills to use the latest technology and software. There is always something new to learn.

As well, there’s often travel to go with the work. Elizabeth has travelled to shipyards in NS and NL. Her senior co-workers have travelled to Dubai, South Africa, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas, and so on. Elizabeth knows that with more experience, she’ll be assigned to visit shipyards located internationally.

Elizabeth has skills for which there are jobs all over the world. She wants to travel and experience new cultures, and that’s a perfect fit for this career. All the same, Elizabeth thinks that at some point it would be wonderful to work in the NL offshore industry.

What advice would Elizabeth give to people considering a marine transportation career?

Elizabeth says it’s important that individuals interested in a design career have good skills in mathematics and physics. She did Advanced Math in high school, and it helped her get off to a strong start in her studies at Marine Institute.

She says success beckons hard-working team players with good time management skills. There are lots of great jobs for people with these qualities and with marine transportation design training. Of course, it really helps to have an interest in ships and other marine-based structures.