Interview Cem Sipahi, Lead Welding Engineer at Tata Steel

Interview Cem Sipahi, Lead Welding Engineer at Tata Steel

Cem, how did you get in contact with Selectum?

After I graduated from my Welding Engineering education at Middle East Technical University, I worked a while in Turkey. After some time I decided that it would be a good idea for me to work in Europe, to have better working conditions. I contacted a friend that already worked in the Netherlands and asked for his advice. He told me to speak to Selectum. My friend has been living in the Netherlands for more than 15 years and he also had worked via Selectum, with good experiences.
Selectum offered me a position as QA/QC Welding Engineer / Mechanical Inspector QA. This was from january 2018 to august 2020. Afterwards I spent some time working in Turkey again, but always kept in touch with Selectum. Now I am on my second position via Selectum, since June 1st 2022 as Lead Welding Engineer at Tata Steel.

What does your position as a Lead Welding Engineer at Tata Steel entail?

My job covers preparing inspection plans for periodic reassessment of piping, repairs and modifications of pressure equipment. We handle repair- and new projects, maintenance, inspection of current situations and we make rapports about it. The welded pipelines are important for structures and energy infrastructure.

My team and I are working closely together to decide how we can repair and upgrade pipelines. It contains a lot of calculations, also about the lifespan of these pipelines.

Currently I am also dealing with a new construction, a Tata Steel Capex project which means a major investment project. It’s all about pipelines, pressures and it starts in march 2023. We will replace equipment, check the requirements, welding documents, the materials situation and make sure that deliverances work according to international codes.

What are your experiences about the collaboration with Selectum?

I’m really happy to work with them, because they help me with everything. Even with finding a new apartment. My friend will move in with me so we needed a bigger apartment. Selectum helped me to find a good one for us, along with other things like furniture.
In fact, Selectum makes me feel very welcome in every aspect. I have never experienced that before and it makes me feel confident and welcome. Also Selectum makes sure you meet other candidates, for example during the fun day we had at Snow World in december 2022. It’s important to meet other people/ engineers and Selectum facilitates that very well.

They also arranged my transfer to the Netherlands. I hardly had to do anything, just taking my birth certificate to the Dutch embassy in Turkey and some other small things. It’s hard to get a working visa in the Netherlands, but Selectum made it very easy for me. Also they offered to pick me up at Schiphol airport.

Gert Jan Pleysier visits me regularly at Tata Steel. He always checks if I am happy, if everything is going well. I also had my friend to mentor me, but Selectum explained really everything that was needed for me to work here. BSN number, work permit card, et cetera.

What is the best part about your job? And why?

In Turkey I worked on the longest (suspension) bridge in the world, the red Çanakkale Bridge. After completion in march 2022 I was extremely satisfied with the result: a 3623 meter long impressive and amazing looking piece of construction. We had an important part in the process, doing the calculations and welding checks. Also we had to complete everything in a really short period of time, so after it was opened it was really satisfying to having succeded. I truly love to be part of something great.
Another satisfying part of my job is my age. Where ever I go, I am always the youngest one. But I can level well with more experienced people, for example with 20 years of engineering. I can discuss things on the same level and that is really satisfying for someone like me with ‘only’ 7 years of experience.

What part of engineering interests you the most?

Calculations and building things. When I see a construction I work on going higher and higher up, seeing that happen is so cool!

What are the challenges for you?

In Turkey it was sometimes hard to do your job well, due to bad working conditions. But here it’s only a pleasure. There is no unpaid overtime, good vacation days, no stress. My manager is also really good, I can discuss anything with him, he is humane and knows what he is doing.
The only challenge I can think of is an upcoming change in working structure at Tata Steel. I will be in charge of it, but for now we don’t know which projects to follow. I have to change the workflow, that is all I know yet. But I am confident the process will be alright.

What (global) developments do you see in your field of work?

Tata Steel works on lowering the air pollution, changing from coal to hydrogen for steel production. It is going to be a green plant. But that does take time, probable some years.
Every company in the world has to go greener. Up until now we only had coal as method to produce steel, but we will convert to hydrogen. Nuclear is another way, but let’s not go there 😉

If you were the boss of the world, what would you change?
I don’t think I could be boss of the world. There are so many people in the world to take care of and to lead, how could I do that? At the moment I am also a little pessimistic about all the negativity going on. Still too many humans act like the cancer of the world.

But I do have plans about my own future, that I can manage. I would like to complete 5 years of work in the Netherland and then get my Dutch nationality. That would enable me to build my own company, maybe in consulting. I would like to schedule my own programme, see what interests me by then, pick my own projects.
The Netherlands deals with a lack of interest for (welding) engineering by the younger generation. This might change in the near future, but if not, I would like to help Selectum bringing in more people from abroad. The world is changing and we need engineers and inspectors to work on technical developments. There is so many welding engineers retiring now, without a new supply of young people to replace them.
I really don’t know why Dutch younger generations don’t want to work in engineering anymore. It’s such an interesting field and you can really make a difference in technological solutions. Maybe I could get people excited about the profession again.

And, I would like to build a house for my parents. As a young child I made a promise that one day I build a really good house, according to my own specifications. I still have ideas how to do it…

Would you recommend Selectum to others in your network?

Of course and I already did. If people from my network like to get an interesting engineering position, I would always recommend them to forward their CV to Selectum.

What’s on your calendar for the rest of the day?

I have to finish some documentation, and conduct two inspections on the field. Apart from that I have to make a time structure with my upcoming coworker in India. That means I have to decide which kind of jobs he can do with us and set up weekly meetings.

Any famous last words from you? A motto?

I don’t have a motto. Because the world is changing every day, just like ideas about the world.

N.B. After a long period of employment and in coordination with Selectum, this colleague has now become a permanent member of staff with our client.

Do you like Selectum? Become a Selectum insider!

Selectum b.v.
Benoordenhoutseweg 23
2596 BA Den Haag
070 – 324 28 00