By Damiën Nieuwboer, Apprentice mechanic – TS Group Holland

Column: Working abroad

By Damiën Nieuwboer, Apprentice mechanic – TS Group Holland

I have been working as an apprentice mechanic at TS Group Holland since September 2014. After a few months of work experience, in March of last year I got my first project abroad in Australia. A poultry project to commission a climate system in two new stables. A challenge that is new to me and it is the first time that I will do something like this.


On March 3 of 2015 I went to Australia, together with my colleague John. Feeling enthusiastic and motivated I got on the plane, but the same time I wondered what to expect and what was going to be expected from me. After a 24 hour flight with a transfer in Dubai, we went to site. We wanted to see the situation and get accustomed to the flight difference. After meeting the team, we had a tour of the new rearing house of Canobolas Eggs in Molong. Molong is centrally located in west New South Wales. For me it was a whole new experience to see what it is like to work in another country, especially with the difference in climate, people and language.

And then the real challenge began! In the weeks before our trip to Australia, they broke down a few old buildings and built two new stables. A rearing house and a laying house that is split in 2 compartments. During this first visit our focus laid on commissioning the climate system in the rearing house. Later this year there would be two more visits for the laying house.


During our first day we immediately found out that the cables had not been delivered yet. The electrician appeared to have another deadline for the delivery. At our request and despite the day off, the electrician came to site and helped us with the cables after which we could finish off the work. At the end of the day we connected the cables and set up the computer. It motived me when the Australian people were dumbfounded when they saw the amount of work we were able to do in just one day. The people there are happy, the contact with them is very easy-going and we get the time to do our work property. In Australia they do not know work stress like we do in our own country: what we do today, should have been done yesterday.

The next days we focussed on placing the fans and the system for the windows so they can adjust the air inlet in the stable by opening and closing. When everything was connected, we had to set up the climate. During the night before our last workday we did a smoke test to see if everything was working. This lead to a successful testrun of this first visit and then I realised we got a lot of good results after all our hard work.

When I look back at this first foreign project, I think about how amazing it was to show the Australian people what we are capable of doing and to then transfer this knowledge to them so they can also apply it. At the beginning of the project I felt challenged, but when I was sitting on the plane home I was so happy that I got to experience this. The appreciation that I received, made working abroad really extraordinary.


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