SAFETY4SEA: Your organization has been shortlisted for the 2019 SAFETY4SEA Awards in the ‘Training’ category alongside a number of other distinguished nominees. What would you like to share with industry’s stakeholders with respect to this development?
Alexander E. Querol: Of course, we are happy and grateful to have been included in the list alongside equally amazing and credible nominees. We are very pleased to know that our strong commitment to the training and development of our seafarers has been acknowledged and recognized. We have shown this commitment in very concrete terms – through our investments in additional infrastructure, state-of-the-art training equipment, and highly qualified and dynamic instructors. We did a lot of research on the latest trends happening in the industry and we are continually transforming and innovating to keep pace with these changes. Our goal is to deliver courses and programs that meet the expectation of maritime professionals and the demands of the global maritime industry.
S4S: What are the key challenges surrounding the training of seafarers today?
A.Q.: The key challenges are driven mainly by the rapidly changing and dynamic shipping environment and the new breed of seafarers coming onboard, the Z Generation. Training providers must be able to catch up and develop courses that will meet the demands of new conventions, stringent regulations, and technology application onboard. We must develop training methodologies that will appeal to the needs of the younger generation of seafarers. The use of e-learning, gamification and tablets, for example could be a good way to engage them. Virtual reality is another tool. It’s widely applied now in many classrooms and learning environment. We cannot teach our seafarers today in the same traditional way that we have been doing 20 or 30 years ago.
S4S: In what way do you believe training needs to be developed in order to keep up with industry’s dynamic environment?
A.Q.: Our new generation of seafarers are getting younger and younger. They are independent, technology-savvy, and hungry for information. More and more processes onboard are operated digitally. Vessel designs are emerging and evolving to become more fuel efficient, environment-friendly and highly automated (there are already unmanned vessels operating short routes, for example). Artificial intelligence is now the prime mover of all these onboard automations. Training courses and methodology must be developed around these trends, alongside current ways of teaching through the use of actual equipment and hardware. Instructors must be trained, too to be adept in imparting such knowledge and can engage the younger generation in their own language and digital environment.
S4S: How training in shipping could be developed to meet the needs of Generation Z?
A.Q.: The development of training courses and programs should consider the learning habits of Generation Z. Being independent, and self-confident are the key traits of this generation. They grew up in a digital world shaped by the internet and are known to absorb tons of new information everyday, mostly through the web and social media. They like multitasking and have a short attention span of about 8 seconds on the average. All of these must be considered by training providers. Course developers may consider adopting shorter, bite-sized, visually appealing, and interactive modules to replace the traditional, wordy, lengthy course outlines and content. Instructors must adapt their teaching style as well, in order to be able to keep pace with their students’ learning style.
S4S: What is your key message to the industry stakeholders with respect to the future of maritime training?
A.Q.: Maritime training will always play a key role in the development of competence of seafarers. But it must re-invent itself to keep up with the rapidly changing shipping environment and new generation of learners. It should be able to strike a balance, however, between teaching seafarers to adapt to rapidly advancing technology and maintaining the time tested mindset of adhering to basic safety practices and operational protocols onboard. Training should not forget that behind all of these sophisticated equipment and automation is the most important element of all – the human element: the person itself.
You may cast your vote for MAGSAYSAY Peoples Resources Corporation at 2019 SAFETY4SEA Awards dedicated webpage till 6th of September 2019!
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.