A jobseeker's dilemma

“Another company offered me a higher position and a higher pay, but it would finish after one year. When I chose Svitzer, I would earn less, but I would get to stay. ­Accepting that offer meant that I would not have to sit at home when the contract finished and start running after a job again.”

Long-term possibilities or short-term rewards? Choosing long-term possibilities over short-term rewards, Domingos Yaba Suzana chose Svitzer in 2010 because it offered him regularisation opportunities, a rarity in Angola’s contract-orientated job market.

Domingos Yaba Joao Suzana 

  • Age: 27 years
  • Nationality: Angolan
  • Education: Diploma in Crew Management from Lloyd’s Maritime Academy and North West Kent College, high school diploma in biochemistry
  • First job: Mason for Namkwang International Engineering and Construction
  • Family: Five brothers and three sisters
  • Languages: English, Portuguese, French
  • Interests: Karate, football, building his first home

Domingos Yaba Suzana recalls that day almost four years ago when he made the decision to join Svitzer as Company Driver. After applying for a seafarer position that included a tailored two-year education to become a certified seafarer, Suzana was informed that the only position still available was as a driver. He accepted the position that same day, without knowing that – in less than two years – he would eventually take on a role not just in the Crewing Department, but as its head.

Keeping busy was a strong start

Being one of the many newcomers to Svitzer, which had then only just begun operations in the country, Suzana’s enthusiasm and can-do attitude allowed him to gain a good grasp of the organisation quickly. While drivers from other companies would sit and wait until called to resume their duties, Suzana refused to be idle. “I ran different errands – purchasing things, doing odd jobs, arranging for the delivery of food and water. I did not see what it had to do with my KPIs, but I did it because it was what was requested.”

“When seafarers that I had to pick up weren’t there to meet me, I went round to their houses and woke them up. After three months, I knew the names of all the crew members,” he adds.

Opportunities in crewing

Months passed, and in his eighth month with Svitzer, Suzana was asked to take on the position of Crewing Coordinator, ensuring that all paperwork for seafarers and expatriates was in order while the regular coordinator was on leave.

After three months in the new yet temporary role, he was asked not only to stay in the department, but was promoted to Crewing Administrator. In another three months’ time, he was promoted a second time and given the overall responsibility of managing the Crewing Department.

Today, many of his colleagues, including Svitzer Country Manager Peter Blackett, commend Domingos Yaba Suzana for the choice he made four years ago and his positive attitude. “He is just the best,” says Blackett, “always smiling, always eager to help. He turned down a better-paying job that offered a short contract in exchange for a long-term commitment with Svitzer. That is maturity.”

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