Seafarer training will change significantly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic predicts crew manager Henrik Jensen.
Crew learning has transferred almost exclusively to online methods due to the worldwide travel bans and quarantine restrictions imposed across the globe.
And Mr Jensen says he expects it to remain this way post-pandemic as the maritime industry becomes accustomed to new ways of working and studying.
“The Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak has forced us all to implement distance learning and, as a result, the maritime training sector has taken a big step forward in embracing the digital evolution which, in all probability, they should have taken five years ago,” he said.
“I think this will be the way forward for the maritime sector. This move was already happening but has been accelerated by the pandemic. There should be no difference in the standard of a seafarer who qualifies online and one who does so in person, and the cost savings for employers and seafarers are important at this difficult time.”
Many seafarers are also finding the digital revolution in maritime training to be beneficial. Mr Jensen points out that online methods, properly supported by mentoring or one-to-one digital support, enable students to learn in their own time and environment which can improve concentration, confidence and commitment.
“Online training is often more flexible,” he pointed out, “It often combines a mix of online tutorials, self-work and one-to-one teaching, backed up by verification processes.
“There are of course still training courses which need to be transited from the classroom format to the digital platform but is inevitably going to happen now. I believe that only training for the development of practical, hands-on skills such as welding, or bridge and engine simulation where the physical equipment is necessary, will continue in the same way – and even these may become a blended format, providing training spread between the online platform and a simulator,” he explained.
Mr Jensen, who specialises in the supply of Eastern European crew, even expects his own classroom-based crew training department to be impacted by the switch to online learning. He foresees training providers becoming more globally spread as the reliance on classroom training, which often incurs travel and accommodation costs, subsides.
He commented: “The development costs are high for many courses and a large through-put of students is needed to cover costs. With digital and online training methods the teacher does not have to be in the same physical location as the student making it possible for a teacher in the Philippines or India to easily train seafarers in Ukraine and Russia for example. This will open up the training marketplace to new competition.”