Digital Solution for Seafarer's Soft & Cognitive Skills Development


Published Jan 22, 2021 6:52 PM by The Maritime Executive

Safebridge, one of the maritime industry's leading EdTech companies, partners with a leading expert in Human Resource Development services, Charakis Research & Consulting Ltd, to deliver the first complete and digital solution for the continuous development of seafarers soft and cognitive skills. 

The Emergence of the Soft & Cognitive Skills 

Throughout recent years, various technological advancements, and the seafarer profession's very demanding nature have contributed greatly to helping organizations recognize and understand that being a successful seafarer requires a unique set of skills. 

Moreover, the 2020 pandemic brought along the crew change crisis, prolonged stays onboard, suspended travel and closure of various educational institutions which cumulatively had an adverse impact on the overall wellbeing of seafarers. These challenges faced by the industry have acted as an additional catalyst in the shifts in perspective and the elevated importance of what used to be considered "soft" skills, such as resilience, communication, and flexibility to list a few and their role in the industry.

In one of the recent #SeafarersPointOfView interviews, Chief Officer Vitalii Sologubov stated that long months of separation from the family, fatigue and crew change issues can affect seafarers' mental health. According to Vitalii, leaders should develop their own soft skills to be an example to other crew members.

These are the skills that are now considered the determinants of success and ultimately the key to safe and efficient operations onboard a vessel, where one's actions and behavior can become the decisive factor between a successful or a failed outcome. 

The Introduction of the Psychometric Assessments 

As one of the industry pioneers, in 2017, following extensive research in partnership with various industry leaders and experts, Safebridge has released a set of online rank-specific psychometric assessments for seafarers' non-technical skills. These assessments allow proactive organizations to assess and identify the gaps in seafarers' soft and cognitive skills and further strengthen recruitment and promotional decisions.

However, the industry was still missing a truly complete solution. One where organizations would have the opportunity to identify and continuously develop such skills amongst their seafarers in a relevant and targeted manner. To this day, there was not any industry and rank-specific solution in the market that would address this problem as a single unified product. 

“The maritime industry is marching towards 'lifelong learning,' where every seafarer will be presented with an abundance of knowledge to gain from. However, now that continued development is needed more than ever to preserve the crew's health and stability and our industry's strength, a complete solution that will identify the exact needs and provide targeted educational aid is missing.” – Valentinos Steliou, Product Manager Safebridge. 

The Complete Solution

Therefore, in 2020, Safebridge partnered with Charakis Research & Consulting Ltd, and through combining their extensive expertise, they have developed a complete set of online soft and cognitive skills courses. These courses are designed to work in complete synergy with the already available SafeMetrix assessments offered by Safebridge or independently on their own.

“In a continuously fast changing environment, investing in developing soft and cognitive skills makes the difference. Development of non-technical skills through an e-learning platform, is challenging. Our approach was to develop interesting small courses – “capsules of knowledge”-  in such a way that will enable seafarers to utilize their skills flexibly and based on the various situations they face in their life on-board.  Through these capsules we aimed to “structure the thought” of seafarers according to their role and position and towards 18 relevant skills. Finally, we chose not to explicitly guide them on what they should do, which might limit their flexibility and performance, but rather, we aimed in “vibrating” their minds on how to find their own solutions in the areas that truly matter to them.” – Michael Charakis, Managing Director Charakis Research & Consulting Ltd.   

The newly created and complete solution allows organizations to tackle the pressing need to recruit and develop highly and appropriately skilled crew in a targeted and cost-effective manner. Both the training and the assessments are divided into two core skill categories of soft and cognitive skills. Subsequently, the soft skills category is split into three primary skill clusters of interpersonal, self-management, and coping under pressure. Cumulatively the solution allows organisations to assess and train seafarers on 18 individual skills. The training can be assigned as individual courses, packages of skill clusters, or the complete set of all covered skills. Moreover, the entire solution is delivered online further underlying the complete flexibility and convenience aspect of this solution.   

The formal release of the new online training packages is set for February 1st, 2021. It will be accompanied by a dedicated online event featuring the key experts involved in their development process to present the new solution to the attendees. To learn more about the new solution and ask any of your questions live, please follow the link .

The products and services herein described in this press release are not endorsed by The Maritime Executive.