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Emma Millen

Emma Millen

Emma Millen| Certificate in SSBA Construction Diving

“When the guys crack a joke, you need to know when to just laugh and walk away.”

This useful piece of advice comes from student Emma Millen, one of only five women to enrol at the New Zealand School of Commercial Diver Training (NZSCDT) since 2012. Hailing from the small town of Waiuku, Emma started her training after a few years working as an Outdoors Pursuit Instructor. 

“Water is what I love! I love the challenge and the dynamic environment. Whether it be the task at hand or the weather and conditions, if you can find some way to make it fun, life becomes a party! I tried an office job once but quickly realised it wasn’t for me.”

Emma_supervising_a_Dive24 year old Emma sees a real future in commercial diving and she hopes to soon be working in the industry onshore. Eventually she would like to pick up some offshore contract work. When she first started to look around for training institutes that could qualify her, she quickly realised that NZSCDT was the only school of its type in New Zealand. 

“As soon as I completed my PADI qualification (for recreational diving) I started to think about how I could turn diving into a career. I wanted to find an occupation that gave me the ability to do what I love.”

Ask any of the NZSCDT team and they will tell you that commercial diving comes with all sorts of challenges. It is physically demanding, the hours can be long and sporadic, and offshore work can take divers away from land for months at a time.

It is also typically a male-dominated industry. Emma doesn’t see this as any sort of a barrier but she understands it is going to take guts and determination to keep her in the industry. “It is what it is really.

I have grown up with some strong male figures to look up to and the women in my life telling me “Girls can do anything”. I strongly believe in this and I am sure my team mates would say the same!” In her spare time Emma likes to keep active with hiking, kayaking and camping, all hobbies which contribute to the level of fitness required in the industry.

Her advice to other women looking at entering the industry is to be prepared to work hard and to have your ability as a person questioned. “You need to have your head in the game 24/7 and know when to ask the right questions. You also need to be able to speak up for yourself and know when to ask for help, but also be fairly relaxed too.

It is important to be very organised and not lag behind.” Emma completed her ADAS Part 3  qualification in July 2015. ADAS Part 3 will allow her to enter the offshore gas and oil industry both here in NZ, and overseas in the years to come.

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Updated 26/05/17 05:18pm NZST

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