IN TODAY’S SUPERYACHT INDUSTRY, GAINING THE EDGE OVER YOUR FELLOW CREW WITH A FEW EXTRA CERTIFICATES AND QUALIFICATIONS IS A NECESSITY. SO WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO BE DOING WITH YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY OVER THE WINTER MONTHS?
As crew hunker down during the coming months, waiting for spring, some will grab the down time quiet and invest well-earned summer cash in training to boost the chances of a climb up the next rung in their careers. With this in mind, ONBOARD scurried off and tracked down members of the teaching wing of the yachting industry: to get a proper overview of what kind of training is available, for any crew, at any level in their career path: anywhere, anytime. It turns out the training landscape is rich, extensive with a variety of learning options to pick.
Lars Lippuner is Head of Commercial Operations at Warsash School of Maritime Science and Engineering, based at Solent University, Southampton. This is the home of the Warsash Superyacht Academy. Warsash School has a history of maritime teaching dating back 70 years and it was Warsash that, right at the beginning, led the development of the MCA Yacht Certificate of Competency syllabus and assisted other training bodies in the early days. The Academy offers higher education, MCA-approved certification and training for superyacht crew, officers, captains and shore-side professionals. Explains Lippuner who formerly headed up the Superyacht Academy but now plays a more commercial role within the university, “We have over 200 courses including entry level, STCW safety courses, Certificate of Competency for Yachts or Small Vessel and Unlimited certification, bridge and engine simulation courses, yacht handling on scaled models, yacht and powercraft design, maritime business and international management degrees. Over the years we’ve have developed a number of courses for every possible crew level. This is still a growing industry and the level of on board competance has increase massively over the past 10 years, driven by the governing bodies and other regulatory authorities.”
Solent University is in fact the only maritime university in the UK to offer courses all the way from entry level to PhD. Warsash has up to 10,000 professional short course enrolments each year. Says Lippuner, “We are currently in the middle of an unprecedented £43 million investment in new maritime training facilities to ensure that we continue to deliver to the very highest standards.”
Learning technology in the class room is state of the art and includes Virtual Learning Environments (e-learning) plus a wide range of specialist facilities and equipment including: a maritime simulation centre, the UK’s largest and most comprehensive simulation suite with bridge, engine room, liquid cargo operations simulators, vessel traffic management, dynamic positioning, radio communications, and crane simulators; a manned model ship handling centre (the only one in the UK and one of five in the world, comprising a 20-acre site with a purpose-built lake and a variety of scaled ship models to hone the crucial skill of slow-speed ship handling; an extensive fire school and maritime survival centre (for merchant navy training and safety training for the offshore oil and gas sector). Other specialist facilities include; a towing tank, a composites lab, marine engineering workshops and marine electro-technical labs.
All the required training and sea-time to become an officer of the watch is provided during the three year course. “We see more sixth form colleges and schools offering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) engineering focussed subjects which benefit those who may want to start working straight away on superyachts and gain their sea-time whilst learning the skills required as an engineer or on deck to follow the Officer of the Watch limited certification. Says Lippuner, “Training purely to pass an examination is a very dangerous thing. Learning can be defined as an alteration in long-term memory. If nothing has altered in long-term memory, nothing has been learned. However, simply coaching students to pass exams will not lead to very little long-term learning and is thus dangerous to the students and the wider industry alike. All schools should thus be driven by a desire to provide effective learning and teaching.”