There is a trend in the shipping industry focusing on training and education. This is essential for the development of our industry. For training you need a training center, a school or some kind of education platform, with experienced teachers. This was mentioned at a manning & training conference focusing on offshore in Oslo last October where speakers mentioned the need of good training and education.
Why establish your own training center?
Many owners and ship managers with a substantial fleet of ships and personnel seem to be keen on opening their own training centers. Some only to be used for their own personnel and others are open to offer their service to external owners/managers. One explanation for setting up their own training center was explained by one MD at a center as their “focus on the importance of training” in order to provide “high quality maritime education”. Another reason could be that external training centers are simply too expensive, however, that reason I have not heard mentioned by anyone.
Training vs. education
One has to decide if it is training or education you are aiming for. Some persons argue that training could be done while seafarer is onboard. That would of course save time and money. But what will be the quality of such training? What about trainers onboard? Are the seafarers, mostly officers, trained to be instructors?
Some others claim that there is not time enough for training while onboard therefore it has to be done during vacation. If that’s the case, seafarers go to companies own training center were you still face the question – are trainers there experienced and educated enough to give good training?
Will instructors employed by owners/managers, often their own officers, be the well-educated persons to give instruction and education? Will the companies own training center have enough courses to establish experienced instructors?
At an independent training center courses are given with well-educated instructors who hold the position as instructors because they are fitted and trained for it. This enables that instructors will educate, not train.
It was noted by some speakers at the conference in Oslo that more and more of ship managers and owners establish their own training centers around the world. For this they need to find a good site, if they are aiming for basic safety courses, also with fire-fighting equipment, as well as finding their own instructors. In order to get some kind of economy in such training centers, a certain volume in company with a great number of seafarers attending such training center is needed.
A good reason for owners and/or ship managers to establish their own training center can of course be that they want to show that they care for the crew’s training. Another reason that was mentioned at the conference would be that manager/owner want to show the seamen that there is a training program within the company that offers a career and future possible promotion.
It is of course a great deal of commitment to establish your own training center. Infrastructure, equipment, dormitories and transportation solutions would need to be established, not to mention personnel such as instruction, caretakers, management and administration. On top of all this the successful training center needs to keep expensive equipment up to date and in good working condition. All this costs quite a lot of money and commitment. My question is, why do this when it is of importance that the seafarer gain good education as well as training which most cost effectively can be given at an established and certified training center? It is also a fact that internal instructors might have difficulties in being impartial when instructing and educating people who might be former ship colleagues.
Developed safety culture in shipping industry
If training is what we as an industry are looking for, owners and ship managers own training centers might be the solution, but if we want to educate our seafarers I argue that this shall be given at an established training center with instructors trained in the subject and most importantly, educated in pedagogy. This will enable the industry to say that we focus on well-educated employees handling the ships in a safe manner. That’s why we must have training centers to provide the best possible education. This is not the area were shipping companies shall compete – the competition shall instead be about having good vessels giving good service.
Let’s work together in a co-operative way when it comes to education, and not treat training as a “tick box” handled by instructors not being well educated and motivated for the task.
“The influence of a good teacher can never be erased”.
Take care out there.