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The future of maritime training

We asked seven experts what skills and training will be needed for the crew of the future. You may find their answers amazing

Automation and virtual reality are changing the skills needed on board the ships of tomorrow, and we will all need to get used to lifetime training

AS the sweep of technological change brushes every area of the industry, it is the new recruits who will be at the heart of bringing in these new skills. But what skills do they need?

Capt Marc Nuytemans, managing director, Exmar Shipmanagement:
“Young people today would not be attracted by a job if you provided the traditional schooling of two decades ago. You are not going to put them on the bridge and hand them a sextant. Youngsters today are coming out of training tech savvy; it is difficult for them to imagine a different world.”

Arne Lippens, naval architect and superintendent, Exmar Shipmanagement:
“Any transition like this requires an adjustment of mindset and therefore adjustments on training and operational ways. The main difference is that the gap to close for this industry is much higher than in, for example, a car factory which started implementing new technologies 20 years ago and had ‘time’ to adapt to the evolution.”

Karen Waltham, managing director of HR Consulting, Spinnaker Global:
“A lot of people are worried about moving from one extreme to another extreme. But it will evolve over time.”

Carleen Lyden Walker, chief evolution officer, Shipping Insight:
“I worry that people say the shipping industry is never going to change, or that it is slow to change, and I worry about the danger of believing that rhetoric. The world is going to demand more efficient services and it is our job to provide them. Our industry needs to accelerate this change in order to remain competitive in a global market place which is moving along at lightning speed. Shipping isn’t going to disappear but it will morph into something. Do we want to be an agent of that change or do we want to have this change imposed upon us?”

Sunil Parashar, senior L&D manager, Thome Shipmanagement:
“At Thome, the focus is on changing the mindset at both employer and employee level. The advance in technologies will evolve and get adopted at the pace acceptable to industry, but as a diligent shipmanager our focus is to ensure the basic practices and protocols are not forgotten in this evolution. Our belief is that the individual behind the technology — the user — is still the most important link, as they are the ones making the decisions.”

Capt Yuri Verniers, crewing director, Exmar Shipmanagement:
“We have been working with a couple of maritime academies which take electronics engineers fresh from university — not from the maritime side — and then ‘marinise’ them. We analyse any gaps and training required — and it is a very short time to make them maritime electronic engineers.”

Raal Harris, managing director, KVH Videotel:
“One thing the shipping industry has to take on is its digital literacy. Partly that can happen naturally, by people coming in who grew up with it. But I don’t think you can take it for granted.”

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