Different Horses for Different Courses: A Review of Continuing Education Opportunities
By MarEx Staff
A new era in maritime training has evolved due to advances in graphics, simulation training and personal computers, which allow for the online training of students anywhere in the world. But while the world has become smaller, the maritime industry is still separated by oceans and continents and ship operations still require a high level of skill sets. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and coast guards around the world have put strong demands on mariners because accidents have horrific consequences. MarEx reached out to some of the better-known training institutions as well as some niche trainers to find out what’s new and hot in the world of maritime education.
“See, Do, Talk, Transfer”
Imagine being a new engineer sitting in the engine room of a large commercial vessel in front of a huge traction motor. You went to a technical class at the manufacturer’s facility to learn how to change the brushes, but this motor isn’t exactly like the one you trained on. So you look at your scribbled notes and realize they’re a little messy. Well, not to worry because you’ve got the DuBounds Learning kit is in your backpack and all you have to do is slip the disk into your laptop and click on “changing motor brushes.” Now it comes back to you. Piece of cake. You’re done in no time.
“Today we’re developing a series of courses for Electronic Power Design (EPD), a global power control systems company,” says Crockett Dubose, Chief Operating Officer at DuBounds Learning. “We want people to see things like their training needs, and we want them to be able to do things with the training and talk about it, and then they’ll have a better chance to transfer that knowledge. It’s an easy formula of ‘See, Do, Talk, and Transfer.”
DuBounds Learning is preparing about ten courses for EPD as well as a learning management system to monitor and measure all key metrics of the training. EPD is a large global company with employees around the world, and it is essential for management to know who has been trained, how well they have been trained, and that they’ve met EPD’s standards for training. Consequently, a training “dashboard” is being constructed so the management team can monitor all the training requirements of the company.
Dubose says his company is working on a very exciting leadership program for EPD because every organization is lacking in some form of leadership. “Many times people are thrust into that position, but very few have actually been trained in how to be a leader,” he said. “We’re attempting to do it. Now that’s exciting.”
“We Want You to Return Safely”
Julie Keim founded Compass Courses over ten years ago and moved the school to Edmonds, Washington about six months after she opened in Seattle. Compass is a lower-level licensing school because it offers basic safety training, which requires no sea time. The Northwest is a hotbed for towboats, tugboats and fishing boats, so they are the school’s prime markets. Compass recently trained two captains from the television show, “Deadliest Catch.” Keim said it was a fun week working with Captains Jake Andersen, F/V Northwestern and Elliott Neese from the F/V Ramblin’ Rose, who is the youngest captain in the Bering Sea. Compass also trained crews from Crowley Marine Services recently.
The school offers a wide variety of training options and all classroom instruction is done on site, except that firefighting courses are held at the Washington State Fire Training Academy. The Coast Guard recently issued requirements that all able-bodied seamen have proficiency in survival craft, and that was a game changer for Compass because that is the school’s core business. Keim says a lot of people come to Compass to get a USCG certificate, and while her company is not a job placement center, she can guide them because she knows the maritime community and the companies very well. She also points out that it’s tough to get younger people to join the industry because of the old “salty dog” image. “I guide people and am really honest with them,” she said. “It’s a tough economy, and I try to help people get back on their feet. So we provide basic safety training so people can apply for a job at any company.”
Workboat Academy – The Work/Study Way
The Workboat Mate program is a two-year course to become a mate on a tugboat or offshore supply vessel. The program is about six years old and is ideal for mid-level career changers and young people not heading to college or an academy. The program is offered at the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS) in Linthicum Heights, Maryland and at the Pacific Maritime Institute in Seattle, Washington.
The key to the program is getting billets from sponsor companies, who pay the students to work on company boats during their training, allowing them to offset the cost of tuition. “We have a very good relationship with our 25 partners,” said Program Manager Marja van Pietersom. “And we’re proud of the school’s retention rate. About ninety percent of the students stay with the companies they apprenticed with.”
The Workboat Academy has also reestablished the “Hawse Pipe” program for 500/1600-ton licensed mariners. It also includes a structured “on-the-job” sea-training apprenticeship program. “What sets us apart is it’s not just a bunch of courses, it’s a program involving 360 days at sea before a cadet graduates,” said van Pietersom. “I look for a passion to work at sea, which might account for the high retention rate. Most schools offer training. We close the loop with practical experience.”
“Safety Through Knowledge”
Horten, Norway-based Seagull is a provider of computer-based training systems for seafarers with offices around the world. Founded in 1996 by experienced mariners, it has grown into a dynamic company in partnership with some of the leading shipping companies in the world, delivering a full range of assessment and management tools that ensure meeting and exceeding STCW and IMO standards. The company’s programs have been used by over 7,000 ships and offices.
APRO (Ability Profiling) is a psychometric assessment program used as a support tool during recruitment of junior seafarers and the screening of students for maritime studies. It was developed together with the Norwegian Marine Technology Research Institute and supported by the University of Oslo, DNV, and the shipping industry. Seagull’s Training Content Director, Captain Bjarke Jakobsen, said, “We developed the course from scratch and now have made it compulsory for users of the system to attend a one-day seminar. The seminar is not just about how to assess the results of the APRO test but to understand the ethical guidelines as well.”
Since launching the online version in March, Seagull has experienced a significant level of demand for the new tool. “The feedback from the market has been very positive,” notes Jakobsen. “Companies are realizing it is a huge advantage to be able to sit in one location and set a test for someone in another part of the world.”
To find out more, contact the company at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.seagull.no.
Professional Training in Shipboard Security
One of the hottest issues in the world today is shipboard security, and Castle Shipboard Security of Fort Lauderdale, Florida has been on the cutting edge for many years. The company is owned by Jeffery and Glenna Kuhlman. Jeffery Kuhlman’s background includes combat time in Vietnam with the U.S. Marine Corps, and Glenna Kuhlman is both a mariner and an educator.
“If you have to defend your ship, that’s a battle you cannot lose,” says Kuhlman. “Our program provides classes on anti-piracy, counter-terrorism, civil unrest and civil threat training to maritime professionals.” Castle’s primary training site is at nearby Nova Southeastern University, but it also trains at a number of other venues including onboard a vessel. Many of the instructors are merchant mariners with command experience and backgrounds in education and/or tactical applications. These instructors are provided by Sig Sauer Academy, which works very closely with Castle. The company also has a working relationship with Nova’s Center for Bioterrorism.
The Asian-European Connection
The College of Engineering of Nanyang Technical University (NTU) in Singapore and the Norwegian School of Management (BI) have joined forces to create higher education degrees for the maritime industry. NTU launched the Bachelor of Science in Maritime Studies program in July 2004. It focuses primarily on tertiary education in shipping, business, management, and maritime science and technology and has helped establish Singapore as a center of excellence for maritime studies. A companion program is the Bachelor of Science in Maritime Studies with a Business major.
The NTU-BI partnership also offers a global NTU-BI Executive MBA Program in Shipping, Offshore and Finance. “The program is profession-oriented and designed to give participants an understanding of the key drivers, management challenges and strategies in the shipping and offshore industries,” said Louis Low, Director of Admissions and Marketing for NTU. “Norway and Singapore have deeply rooted maritime sectors and expertise. Both countries are also located in important shipping lanes and play host to a rich gamut of companies servicing the sector. Hence it is natural that they offer an Executive MBA that leverages off this expertise.”
To find out more, visit www.ntu.edu.sg.
Legacy of Excellence
“GMATS is affiliated with the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), but we are our own school,” explained Hilary Flanagan, Operations Manager for the Global Maritime and Transportation School. “We are a full-service educator, which means you don’t have to come to Kings Point because we have portable courses which can be delivered offsite at any location. Another feature is the customization of programs to meet the training needs of our customers.” Flanagan said the continuing education component of USMMA has been around since the 1960s, and the school changed its name to GMATS in 1999.
GMATS is divided into four divisions: nautical sciences and military training, marine engineering, transportation logistics and management, and research and special projects. In recent years the school has formed partnership programs with other training facilities and maritime academies. Its philosophy is that partnerships are good because there is only so much business out there. “Maritime training is not a multimillion dollar business. Building alliances and partnerships is about helping mariners attain their goals and strengthening the industry as a whole,” Flanagan said.
When asked about the new Coast Guard regulations concerning the “hawse pipe” training requirements for STCW endorsement on ships of 500/1600 GT and Third Mate licenses, she noted, “We found that it really doesn’t affect us much because the crew advancement program GMATS runs qualifies for two-thirds of their sea time. Consequently, it will have no general effect on the program other than offering mariners a ‘hawse pipe alternative’ to the same license with two to three days of sea credit.”
A Tradition of Leadership
“Maine Maritime Academy’s School of Continuing Education is a public institution, and our mission is to offer our resources to the general public and our alumni,” says Victoria Blackwood, Coordinator of Continuing Education. Our format is based on Coast Guard-approved STCW courses. We also have courses in tune with what’s going on in the industry.”
MMA was offering anti-piracy courses even before there was a Maritime Transportation Security Act. Today, the academy’s third-year students take security courses on their annual training cruise, and Blackwood’s Continuing Education Department has partnered with Maritime Security Network to deliver the Company Security Officer, Vessel Security Officer, and Anti-Piracy Defense training courses.
The school has a 25-room living space for students taking classes on campus and, while not the Ritz, Blackwood says attendees have private beds and baths as well as wireless Internet. The school partners with the Marine Emergency Management Association to provide programs on command strategies and tactics for marine emergencies and maritime security for military and first responders. “I believe as a public institution we have an obligation to work with our first responders,” says Blackwood. “The school also partners with companies that deliver courses around the world. We don’t send our students to these countries, but we certify the courses delivered. We’re like the extra quality stamp on their programs.”
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The system continues to evolve, and MarEx would like to acknowledge that all these schools provide many more courses than described here and each is different in terms of delivery