Interview with Angela Donkers HR Business Partner

Meet Angela Donkers, one of our HR Business Partners, whose responsibility is to find the right talent to fill our highly specialised roles. Working with all professions within the company, she’s an expert in knowing who to pick for the job. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing insights on her life working for Heesen. We’ll ask her the questions she usually gets asked and provide an insider view on the opportunities to get involved here at the company

What does an HR Business Partner at Heesen do?
We’re responsible for getting the right people in the right job. It’s a diverse role as you work with many different people, at various levels and in different fields. No week is the same. It’s dynamic and fast-paced. But you also have a long-term strategy for improvement which is challenging. Heesen is a company where you can be yourself. Each person in the team works at the highest level and is professional, but there is also room for fun. The contrast between the ultra-luxury of our product and the no-nonsense culture internally appeals to me. We are all proud of what we create together, regardless of how you contribute to it.

How big is the Heesen family?
We have about 350 full time here in Oss, then about 125 at our other location where they work on interiors. But with flexible skilled workers, it totals around 1,000 people at the shipyard each day. What’s special about Heesen is that the feeling of a family business still exists to some extent. It’s something we would like to maintain. And the proof is that we have many loyal employees who have been working at Heesen for a long time.

What does Heesen look for when they hire people?
We’re looking for people with true craftsmanship skills. The most important thing is that the quality is exceptional and they take pride in what they do, because of the ultra-luxury yachts that we’re building. There is a huge diversity of skills needed. From welders and carpenters, through to engineers and managers. We want to find people who are loyal to Heesen and who we hope will work with us for a very long time. But the quality of their work is the most important, because that is what makes us better than other companies.

Can I visit the shipyard?
It’s a working shipyard, so it’s hard to get visitors in sometimes. But we do create special tours for schools, and once in a while, for fun, we have a family day when our employees’ families and friends can visit the yard. On our school tours, we show children how the construction process works and which professions you can join within Heesen. We also give presentations, interactive assignments and visit schools for open days. We do this to get young people excited about technology and yacht building. Then hopefully we can welcome them as employees later. We do know that the tours and experiences leave a big impression. When we get applications, we often hear that they visited when they were young!

Can I do an internship at Heesen?
Interns are a valued part of the team at Heesen. We have them in lots of different departments, including engineering and HR. It changes each year. There are many examples of people who have worked their way up in the company and are now leaders in their departments. If it’s a good match, we want them to stay. In fact, Heesen’s COO started as an intern – so there are plenty of opportunities here if you’re ready to grab them.

How big are Heesen yachts and how many do you sell?
The yachts we build at the shipyard are between 50 and 80 metres. This is determined by our location inland in Oss, as we need to go through lots of canals with locks and shallow depths to get to the sea. We build around 13 projects at the same time, in both steel and aluminium. There are different kinds of yachts: custom, semi-custom and series yachts for our clients to choose from. Last year, we sold two yachts. But it varies from year to year. We are a very exclusive builder, so it’s not about quantity for us. Of course, afterwards we celebrate.

What celebrations happen when a yacht is sold?
It’s a big deal at the yard when a yacht is sold, so we have a celebration launch party. It’s a moment of success where you as an employee can be proud of the end result and celebrate this with your colleagues and the customer. Everybody gets a special cake and at the event there are speeches from the owner and Heesen’s CCO. And of course, in true tradition, a champagne bottle gets broken on the boat for good luck.

Who are your customers?
Privacy is very important and Heesen prides itself on being discreet. With big assets like a yacht that comes with the territory. What I can say is that we have customers from all over the world. Yes, Russia – although less so now. But definitely the United States, Middle East and Europe. The US is an especially big market for us. There is a real yachting culture there.

Has our focus on the yacht industry sparked your interest? We’re passionate about the dynamic opportunities within this exciting sector. If you’re in search of employment, look no further! Explore our ‘Working at Heesen’ website for the latest job openings. Embark on a journey with us and discover where your talents can thrive in the world of luxury yacht construction.





Mark Cavendish   Chief Commercial Officer

| Robert Drontmann   Sales Director

Heesen Yachts North America

Thom Conboy   Agent North-America, Mexico, Bahama's & Caribbean