Education and training is crucial for building
and developing sustainable careers. Without learning, there can be no growth,
either for individuals, companies or industries alike. Yet there are challenges
associating with developing skills and knowledge, particularly when struggling
to balance an expanding workload. Seafarers often feel pressured to leave their
jobs at sea earlier than planned in order to try and move up the career ladder,
sometimes making the decision to leave the sector altogether. When experience and skill-sets are lost in
this way, it poses a real problem for the industry. Additionally, many
employers are keen to utilise the experience of their sea-going staff in
shore-based management positions, but are faced with the challenge that many
lack the required knowledge.

Marine training initiatives such as Institute
of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology’s (IMarEST) MLA College – – are devising new
blended, distance e-learning solutions to address this issue, allowing marine
professionals to learn whilst they earn. This technology allows seafarers to
stay at sea longer, and continue to develop the skills they need to make the
next career step and remain in the maritime profession. Blended e-learning
combines online and traditional face-to-face class activities, thereby granting
students access to both the conveniences of remote learning and the social and
instructional interactions that may not lend themselves to online
delivery. Here are six ways
technological solutions and blended learning models are improving maritime

#1. Accessibility

With the ability to download course and
training materials from an online database, content can be accessed from
anywhere at any time.

#2. Personalisation

Having a personal tutor boosts learning as it
provides a two-way approach to source information. Not only are users able to
pull data from learning platforms, they can also ask questions and query
specific areas of the content, such as those relevant to their current jobs.

#3. Self-Paced Learning

A busy work and life schedules leave little
ability to make time for professional development. With course notes, lectures
and training modules downloadable and easily accessed, this approach allows
learners to pull information when and where they need it.

#4. Global Relevancy

In industries such as maritime and oil and
gas, companies often operate in multiple locations around the globe. An online
platform can ensure that a programme is rolled out effectively across a number
of divisions to a number of employees, wherever they may be in the world.

#5. Consistency

Delivering a consistent set of modules that
have been vetted by HR and meet group standards allows all users to gain the
same message and training as colleagues in other parts of the world.

#6. Flexibility

E-learning in a modular set-up allows
companies to emphasise specific training pieces which can be bolted on to
users’ modules depending on job role and location to suit their needs. Blended
distance e-learning is easy to update, ensuring that companies can change
content and keep employees up to date with the latest information.

There has never been a more important time to
invest in training and professional development, and IMarEST has been working
hard to support companies in delivering and recognising professional
excellence. Advancements in technology have opened up new doors to those
interested in professional development, breaking down barriers in an effort to
ensure high educational standards across the maritime sector to better support
the future of the industry, and the people at its core.

Words: David Kelly