Meet the accidental scheduler making waves in naval shipbuilding
Four years ago Natalia Bondarenko was scheduling the production of pate, today she’s scheduling production of Australia’s future submarines – the Attack Class.
While the recipes couldn’t be more different the method remains the same – plan, plan and plan.
Natalie, now employed by Naval Group Australia, the company responsible for the multi-billion-dollar contract to design and build 12 state-of-the art submarines for the Royal Australian Navy, got her first taste of scheduling while working for Australian cooking icon, Maggie Beer, at a production facility in South Australia’s Barossa Valley.
After starting her career in a customer service role, Natalia displayed a natural affinity for planning and quickly progressed to Production Planner then Master Scheduler in short order.
“You could probably say I accidentally became a Scheduler,’’ she said.
“I had all the traits that make a scheduler, like list making, being happy to help and organise others and always trying to improve processes, but never saw those skills as a job in itself.
“I had never heard of the job ‘Master Scheduler’ when I was offered the role, so I started researching what sectors used schedulers and discovered that the Defence industry was on the list.
“This planted the seed for a possible future pathway for me, and I decided that in order to make this work, I needed to upskill and broaden my work experience.’’
Natalia successfully completed a Diploma of Project Management course at TAFE and is currently midway through a Bachelor of Organisational Leadership.
Naval Shipbuilding College Talent Acquisition Manager Shelley Morgan said Australia’s Naval Shipbuilding Industry employers were always on the lookout for people possessing skills which are transferable into naval shipbuilding roles.
“Because there is such a diverse range of job and career opportunities within the National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise, a lot of people aren’t really aware that the skills they already possess are highly valued,’’ she said.
“One of the core roles of the Naval Shipbuilding College is to help people identify the skills they already possess or skills they can obtain, which are keenly sought by the naval shipbuilding industry.
“Through our free national Workforce Register, our Candidate Engagement Consultants can help people get employment-ready for careers in naval shipbuilding.’’
For Natalia, having the confidence to take that first step towards a career in naval shipbuilding was her biggest hurdle.
“I think the challenge for me was being confident enough to try to get into the naval shipbuilding industry, I wasn’t sure that I was ready,’’ she said.
“I was worried that recruiters were not able to see past my food industry experience and realise that my planning and scheduling skills were transferable.
“However, if a person truly understands scheduling principles they should be able to schedule anything, whether it be pate or submarines.’’
Natalia said her previous experience working as a Scheduler helped lay the ground work for her success.
“My time working in the food industry really allowed me to have perspective on what was truly important, to take stock, step back, and find a way to make things happen,’’ she said.
“When scheduling and producing short shelf-life products, people can get very flustered and panicky at times, it can feel extremely stressful.
“That experience has helped me stay calm under pressure and to keep things in perspective.
“I know this calmness is appreciated by my Naval Group Australia colleagues and it engenders a supportive and collaborative approach within the Project Management team and beyond.
“If people are hungry to learn and keen to be pushed outside their comfort zone and create a long term, stable and rewarding career for themselves, the naval shipbuilding industry should be at the top of their list.’’
If you are interested in learning more about the exciting opportunities in Australia’s Naval Shipbuilding Industry, join the national Workforce Register so we can connect you with one of our Candidate Engagement Consultants for your confidential career conversation. Let us help you find your pathway to your future career in shipbuilding.