Ida Nilsen was our first apprentice. Now, just two years later, she is a foreman with operational responsibility for up to 12 skilled workers. "I love making projects run smoothly," she says.
Ida Nilsen has had a meteoric career. At the young age of only 27, she holds two trade certificates and a leadership position.
"I first obtained a trade certificate as a sheet metal worker and worked in that field for a couple of years. When Bluegreen was established, I joined the team early on and decided to get a trade certificate as a plastics mechanic as well. It took me one year," Ida explains.
"Shortly after getting the second trade certificate, I became a team leader at Bluegreen's workshop. That means I managed jobs with 2-3 individuals, including skilled workers and assistants. The following year, I was promoted to foreperson."
As a foreperson, it's Ida's responsibility to ensure her team knows what they need to do and has everything necessary to perform well. She keeps a daily log, ensures health and safety measures are in place, and monitors that the project progresses according to plans and budget. She's also responsible for allocating the resources she needs and reports weekly on requirements to the project manager.
"I find it exciting to have responsibilities, to use my head, think, and plan. As a foreperson, I always have to be a few days ahead, so the team never runs out of work due to a lack of parts, equipment, or drawings."
"I'm also responsible for ensuring we complete tasks within the specified time frames – or preferably a bit ahead," Ida laughs. "I do have a bit of a competitive instinct in this role!"
Currently, Ida has operational responsibility for the Granitor project, which involves constructing a new dewatering facility for NOAH. In the spring, she worked on the Marine Donut project.
"I had the responsibility for all the machines and equipment that needed to be installed on the Donut. That includes the machine rooms and more," Ida explains. "My team consisted of 11-12 hired skilled workers, and in addition, the electricians reported to me, reaching up to 7-8 at its peak."
Bluegreen, like most other industrial companies, is male-dominated. Ida has only worked in such environments and, as such, has no basis for comparison. She enjoys it but admits it requires some adjustments.
"I would say it has its ups and downs. In this environment, I may need to speak louder and be even more assertive than in a female-dominated work environment. I also notice that I'm very particular about doing things exceptionally well, so no one can find fault with me," says Ida.
"At the same time, it presents many opportunities. It's easier to stand out as a woman among many men; you automatically get noticed. And if you're good at your job, and proactive in showing initiative, you get numerous opportunities. I find that leadership in male-dominated environments has a strong desire to bring in more women and retain the ones they have."
Ida has the following tips for others who want to advance their careers in an industrial company:
Have practical skills and be results-oriented.
Demonstrate a strong work ethic.
Be clear with your manager about your goals; it makes it easier to achieve them.
Don't be afraid to raise your hand!
Having practical experience is a significant advantage. It allows the people you lead to trust that you understand their daily work, and it naturally makes it easier for you to detect inefficiencies and "cutting corners."
Although Ida enjoys her role as a foreperson, she has already set new goals: Project Manager.
"What can I say, I like challenges! I see that I perform well and experience a sense of accomplishment in my current role. It makes me hungry for more."