Real Time Graduates - Q & A Opinions that matter with Mrs. Helen Polychronopoulou

Real Time Graduates - Questions for Interviews

A discussion with Mrs. Helen Polychronopoulou, Executive Vice President, Environmental Protection Engineering (EPE) SA & President, HEMEXPO

1. What will you advise a young graduate who starts his professional career in shipping?
To show passion, dedication, to work hard. Talk less and listen more!
I also think it's crucial to have knowledge of the operation of the ship, to go on board the ships, and if given the opportunity to travel.
But most important of all is to love their job "A passion for what they do."
2.What are the most important qualifications a person should have to work in the shipping sector?
You need a combination of features. Very good studies are necessary today, but they do not necessarily guarantee success.
It requires a broader education, experiences from different cultures, and an appetite for learning daily. And of course, as shipping is a global industry, being a citizen of the world.
3.Why did you decide to work in the shipping sector?
My family has been active in shipping for more than 45 years, serving ships and protecting the environment. My studies in chemistry gave me the tools to deal professionally with both subjects, to combine them and gradually make my own steps.
4.What do you remember from your first years working in shipping?
The first years are the most difficult. Not the most demanding, but the most difficult for sure. You need to adapt to the working environment, and study even more than when at school. During the beginning of my career, I worked countless hours, while studying the upcoming environmental legislation.
5.Do you think that the shipping community needs to embrace new practices to attract young talent in the shipping sector?
Attracting young people to the maritime profession is one of the top priorities of the shipping industry and related sectors. It is of paramount  importance to be able to attract the best engineers, developers, and experts, who will support the efforts to move on to the next day, the age of digitalization.
6.What are the most important changes that occurred in the shipping sector the last five years?
The industry has become more digital and greener. And this trend will continue in the years to come.
7.What do you think about the situation of Maritime Education in Greece?
Greece has very good universities, both public and private, for the shipping sector. We have fallen behind in the field of maritime education, but fortunately we have lately seen actions to accelerate it, mainly due to donations from the shipping community.
In maritime studies, what we can achieve, is to become a global hub, like England. Branding is missing , which is a national challenge.

8.If you were to give advice to your younger self, regarding your professional life, what would it be?
Just one thing : «Spend more time on board»

9.What does your daily schedule from the moment you wake up, look like?
It is never the same! Some days it is hectic, somedays it is blank , which allows time to plan and take decisions for the future .

10.If you were not in Shipping, what would you like to do?
Geology !!

11.What relaxes you?
My job !!
12.If you were to advise a young person to NOT do one thing in their professional life, what would that one thing be?
Stall, delay in finishing studies, study superficially.