Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Perfect Jobs for Modern Women

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Perfect Jobs for Modern Women

Article excerpt

Byline: By Will Mapplebeck

Annette Rasmussen is a first officer for DFDS seaways on their Prince of Scandinavia cruise ferry.

"The ship is like a second home to me. This is a lifestyle, not a job."

It is not surprising that Anette, 35, feels like that about her life on the Prince of Scandinavia. She has spent half of the last nine years away from her home in Esbjerg, Denmark, sailing on the North Sea and the Mediterranean.

Anette is first officer on the Prince which sails out of North Shields to Holland and Scandinavia.

Her responsibilities include everything from navigation to looking after sick passengers and she is only two rungs below becoming a captain.

But it is still rare for women to succeed in the traditionally male domain of seafaring. Anette says she is one of only two female deck officers working within DFDS.

"I haven't had any problems because of my sex, but I know of female colleagues who have," she adds.

She doesn't come from a seafaring family. Her relatives are all farmers and couldn't understand why their tomboy daughter wanted to take to the ocean waves.

"My family are now proud of me," she smiles. "When I told my dad what I wanted to do he didn't believe me. He was reading his newspaper and thought that it was yet another of my crazy ideas." Anette studied long and hard to achieve her dream and undertook a six-year course covering navigation and safety, including two years spent on board ships as an apprentice.

But how do strangers react when she tells them about her unusual job?

"Sometimes I don't tell people because I know I will get a lot of stupid reactions," she says. "They wonder what I am doing working with a lot of men and they think sailors get drunk all the time."

And it's not all plain sailing, either. "I don't like long hard spells of bad weather," she adds. "You do not get to sleep and your whole body aches. You have to use every muscle just to keep standing up because you are so tired.

"But I've always been fascinated by the sea. I could sit and watch the ocean for hours."

Eileen Thompson is a singer and ventriloquist and works across the North-East.

HOW on earth do you end up becoming a ventriloquist?

For Eileen it was an easy choice. She comes from a family of entertainers and her grandfather Will Cowling was one of the North-East's most popular ventriloquists during the 1940s.

Eileen is used to performing in public. She performed her act on local television aged seven and at just 16 joined her cousin's band and toured around Scandinavia.

She and puppets Mandy, Nip and Joe - used by her grandfather - make a good living performing at everything from corporate events to children's parties.

She says: "People that I meet at parties think it is quite unusual, but I have been brought up with it. …

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