Ilja Kondratjuks, LatviaOriginally from Latvia, Ilja Kondratjuks moved to the Isle of Man in 2015 to pursue career development in the marine industry. He now works for the Isle of Man Shipping Registry and lives in Onchan.
Tell us more about your job
I am part of a team of surveyors at the Isle of Man Ship Registry where we register foreign ships and yachts on the Isle of Man. My job is to make sure that all ships which are registered here and flying the Manx flag keep high international safety standards and are causing no harm to our planet's environment. As there are hundreds of ships registered with us from all over the world, I work both in the office and "in the field" by inspecting ships and auditing ship-operating companies worldwide.
What prompted your move to the Isle of Man?
In an unusual turn of events, the Isle of Man was the first place I ever visited in the UK back in 2004. At that time I was a young and enthusiastic cadet on board a tall ship, which was invited to Douglas Bay during the TT Races. Since then I've had good memories of the island and had no hesitation when I suddenly came across the job advertisement from the Ship Registry.
What is your favourite thing about the Island?
I live next to the sea and like watching the power of the waves crashing on the rocks every morning. I like cooking and fresh local seafood is definitely an advantage of living on the island. The island is good for its long network of public footpaths going through the mountains, cliffs, beaches, and glens. It feels amazing to be surrounded by such beautiful landscapes.
How has your move to the Isle of Man benefitted you?
Even though the Isle of Man looks like a small rock on a world map, it is actually much bigger if you consider a map of our various industries, especially the maritime sector. I feel like it was a right step in my career to move here.
What are your ambitions for life on the Island?
I look forward to continue developing professionally, having a family one day, buying a house, raising children and planting a tree or two.
What would you say to others considering a move to the Isle of Man?
Besides many advantages, such as being an interesting place for career opportunities and the safest place to live in the British Isles, the island is very different from big cities. There is not much in the way of glamorous nightlife, shopping malls or pop concerts, although there are plenty of daily flights to London, Dublin or Manchester to satisfy cultural needs. It is certainly a good place for a quality family life.
How does the Isle of Man differ to where you have previously lived?
Originally from Latvia, I studied, worked and lived in various parts of the world and have good memories from almost everywhere. It seems it is not the visual appearance, wealth or public transport which makes you feel happier in the city. The happiness mostly depends on people around you, safety, job security, and the right work-life balance. Altogether these things create a specific, relaxed atmosphere in the society, which probably makes the Isle of Man so nice. There is a sense of community here, where people treat each other as neighbours rather than strangers.
I travel a lot and am always excited to revisit big cities like London, New York or Barcelona. But after a few days away I inevitably start missing the Island, where 100% of the air is fresh and where I can watch the waves crashing over the rocks through the window of my living room. I feel it is my home now.
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