Juliusz Humienny: From Buddhism to Engineering

Hailing from Gdansk in Poland, Juliusz Humienny grew up in the shadow of the shipyard, yet his career took several turns before he found himself involved in engineering.

Juliusz’s career began with an unusual direction when he went to New Delhi in India to study for a BA in Buddhist Philosophy and Tibetan language. However, upon his return to Poland some years later, he found that his educational achievements were not recognised in his home country and reality hit home when the bills and invoices began to arrive through his door.

It was time for a change of direction and so Juliusz went to London for postgraduate studies at the Institute of Linguists, where he achieved a childhood dream to become an English/Polish translator. This opened up the opportunity to work for a number of foreign companies, starting with employment as an office manager. By 1999, Juliusz had moved again and was recruiting Polish workers for British Matatec to go to the United States and work in shipyards.

This was the start of Juliusz’s interest in engineering as he began to engage with the work he was recruiting for. However, again, events conspired against him and the passing of the U.S. Patriot Act in the wake of 9/11 closed the doors on overseas employees heading to the United States. Juliusz then decided to set up his own company recruiting metal workers to work for MAERSK and other companies in the UK, Europe and the U.S.

Having turned to the local Gdansk shipyard for work, Juliusz felt that his work at the historical post-Communist shipyard was stifling his professional development and so he threw himself into learning more about this area of work, including training in non-destructive testing and techniques like magnetic particle and penetrant testing.

As he explained, “I was a bit tired from that job and was hankering for a change. I wanted to get ‘serious’ job instead of just browsing other's people CVs. I wanted to go beyond my comfort zone. I am a typical humanist, but decided to pick up a challenge in engineering.”

He continued, “Nobody was born as an Einstein (I thought), but everybody has a potential to be one. I wanted to prove it. Observing welders and their world and business gave me a clue to become a welding engineer.”

Having studied welding inspection while between jobs, Juliusz moved into the oil and gas industry, working with a Sicilian company creating liquid nitrogen gas tanks. At this time, he took on more training, including gaining a series of sought-after CSWIP qualifications, such as pipeline weld inspection. Heading to TWI for this training, Juliusz studied at TWI Cambridge, TWI Middlesbrough and also at TWI Aberdeen, retaking courses he didn’t pass first time and improving his employability.

Having heard of the wages on offer on oil rigs, Juliusz managed to gain work out on the North Sea working with BP. However, the wages he received were not as good as he had expected, so Juliusz decided it was time to move again – this time to the offshore wind energy sector.

During this time, Juliusz continued with his education and qualifications, gaining IWS, IWI, CSWIP and NACE certifications as well as taking postgraduate studies in Offshore Wind Energy to deepen his knowledge in this sector.

A member of SIMP (Polish Society of Engineers and Mechanical Engineers), Juliusz’s career has progressed through trial and error as he observed the industry and began to catch up with the necessary skills required by the market. While he did not directly use all of these skills himself, they allowed him to gain a broader view of the complexity of the metal industry.

Currently not working on any projects, Juliusz has been recharging his batteries while also writing an English/Polish dictionary of welding terminology, which he hopes will benefit the welding industry. However, he is now ready to reconnect with industry and continue to grow his experience as a welding engineer and quality inspector while slowly progressing his career into either management or project management.

Showing a real dedication to keep growing and learning new things, Juliusz has also made sure to gain the qualifications that employers seek, so as to continue his progress.

With his belief that you should keep studying and learning until the end of your life, Juliusz finished by offering this advice to others, “Keep on trying, never give up. Draw inferences from your good and bad experiences and adjust to new conditions and circumstances.”