‘Inspiring mix of mbo, hbo and private-sector initiatives’
Michael Verdoold (26) first visited RDM Rotterdam during his third year as a Naval Architecture student at Rotterdam Mainport University of Applied Sciences (a joint venture of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences and the STC Group). And he has been a regular ever since.
Why did you decide on a project at RDM?
“Actually, I knew absolutely nothing about RDM until I had to choose a practical assignment for my Naval Architecture (presently known as Marine Technology) degree programme. I decided to work on the predecessor of the Aquabots project at RDM Centre of Expertise (RDM CoE). I remember thinking ‘Why do I need to go all the way to the other side of the Maas for this project?’ But as soon as I arrived at RDM, I really loved it. It’s a very special place, with all these greenhouses in this huge hall.”
Can you tell us a bit more about the project?
“Our assignment was to build a water drone for Imtech Marine that would be able to independently cross the Maas. We spent six months working on the hull and the propulsion system, and we were supported by an IT team that handled the software and electronics. Our little boat made it to the other side – although it did run into a few problems. After the project, one of the lecturers phoned me to ask whether in addition to my Yachts and Small Crafts minor, I wanted to work one day a week on a project for Rijkswaterstaat. I said yes. After that, I spent six months working five days a week for RDM CoE as a practical adviser in the Aquabots Challenge. And now I’m back at RDM, working full-time on my final project. I’m designing a modular underwater aquabot. It can be used to inspect ships, ports and rivers using a variety of sensors.”
What do you like most about RDM Rotterdam?
“The thing that really stands out for me is the great mix here between senior secondary vocational education, higher professional education and private-sector initiatives. And relations are very friendly. You can simply drop by one of these companies and they’ll be happy to explain what they’re working on. This is very inspiring. In addition, I love being allowed to work as a practical adviser. That isn’t something you learn during your degree programme, but in my case, it was an eye-opener. That may be the direction I want to head in later on.”
Would you recommend enrolling in a degree programme at RDM?
“Definitely. Since you’re basically working together with a variety of companies and study programmes, the situation is close to what it will be like in practice. When you start working, you’ll also be expected to collaborate with people from a variety of backgrounds.”