Alert! 20 - Education, training & career development crucial for safe operations
Once upon a time, the majority of those who went to sea did so because they wanted to be the master or chief engineer of a ship - others simply wanted to go to sea. Very few had aspirations towards a career ashore, at least not until after they had completed a few years at sea, and then they would have to retrain for that new career, and return to the bottom rung of the progression ladder.
They all served a predominantly seagoing 'apprenticeship', following a work-based programme of study, leading towards a certificate of competency. The emphasis was on practical ability and on nautical and engineering knowledge and skills. 'Career development' for many meant a gradual progression up the promotion ladder until they reached a level commensurate with their own ability; for others, it meant achieving the ultimate goal of becoming master or chief engineer, or moving into shore management.
Today, an increasing number of complex and technologically advanced ships and systems, coupled with a global maritime workforce comprising of many different nationalities and cultures, can present many challenges in terms of education, training and career development.
The STCW Code requires that all seafarers should be properly qualified for the position that they hold on board, and the ISM Code requires the Company to define the responsibility, authority and level of competence required of each crew member. And, instructors, supervisors and assessors are required to be 'appropriately qualified.' But these are minimum sets and are not sufficient to cope with the systems aboard many of today's ships.