Training for effective ship management

Training for effective ship management
Franck Kayser, CEO of V.Ships.

The right training is essential to ensure mariners of the future are provided with the skills they need to operate advanced technology and enable shipping companies to gain value from their assets. Franck Kayser, CEO of V.Ships explains more.

Ship management is a discipline on the front line when it comes to integrating technology into our training and people management – with seafarers representing the largest mobile workforce in the entire global economy. Across the fleet of 600 vessels that V.Group manages, there is a network of 3,000 shore-based staff spread throughout 60 offices in 30 countries working in tandem with a global seafarer community of 44,000. The human aspect of ship management makes it one of the most important pillars supporting the entire shipping process, and as the discipline evolves, it will be vital to define how technology and people can come together to optimise operations. A big part of this will look at how technology and training can develop in ship management.

At V.Group, training enters into nearly every aspect of its operation, and is seen as a pivotal tool in ensuring robust, consistent and high-quality ship management and crewing. When it comes to crew training at V.Group, we see training as an outcome and solution rather than an off-the-shelf deliverable. Delivering this requires us to view training development with a consultative pair of eyes; before training can start, a rigorous training needs analysis is conducted, establishing training gaps using this insight to develop solutions.

Having established the training needs based on a robust analysis, careful consideration must be given as to which training tools could be employed – where we are seeing a rapidly developing and growing suite of choices. As well as the traditional classes and paper-based collateral, we are seeing an emerging use of simulators to train seafarers. However, we see that very often the best return on investment for training is generated by using more of the ‘tried and tested’ technologies.  The role of simulators, classes, reflective learning drill and multimedia solutions such as digital e-learning packages should not be overlooked.

Underpinning these training activities is the digital infrastructure, ShipSure2.0, which while being a vital tool supporting day-to-day ship management, can also support the robust training needs of seafarers by logging training data and identifying areas where more training is needed. Through integrating digital learning and mandatory training uptake amongst crew, shore-based fleet managers can have an active insight into the current state of training amongst the crew. This is particularly helpful in enabling fleet cells, the basic unit of ship management, to be proactive around training needs, and providing meaningful support to ensure training is kept up to date.

One area where training is becoming particularly vital is by establishing an accountable, safety orientated culture in ship management. This involves generating a flatter, more dynamic leadership style as opposed to the past, which saw a traditional, deeply hierarchical and stiff approach to leadership. By having all ranks empowered to speak up and report areas where safety is compromised – in line with their training – then a collaborative culture around ship management is developed. Safety driven shipping and ship management correlates strongly with reliable, efficient operation, and consistent high quality, so the incentives for safety are tangible for all parties.

Given the trends and trajectories of the shipping and ship management industry, we need to make sure that the right skills are embedded within the mariners of the future. We are seeing an increasing host of technologies emerging, and greater maturity around exploitation of data, these will be a significant pillar in establishing training needs and developing solutions. The role of training will become closer and more collaborative within shipping and ship management if owners are to stay ahead of the curve in ensuring continued generation of value from their assets.

This article was originally published in the April/May issue of the Digital Ship magazine. Click here to view this issue.