In my work, I travel to many parts of the globe. It is an honour and a privilege when I can also meet with members of the Nautical Institute during my travels.
Such was the case on my recent trip to Odessa, Ukraine. Over my time on the council of the Nautical Institute I have met with the Honorary Secretary of the NIU a number of times, but I never thought I would have the pleasure of meeting with Capt. Torskiy, Capt. Boyko and other members of the NIU in Odessa! In fact, it was really through my existing connection with the NI that I had the opportunity to travel to Odessa in the first place.
A bit of background…
A graduate of the Canadian Coast Guard College Cadet program (Navigation) I had an opportunity to move my career from ship to shore. I started teaching in a simulator in the 1990’s and realized that there was a specific skill set to making the best use of the simulator to facilitate learning – a skill set that I wanted to learn! However, there was no place to learn that skill. I could learn how to teach, and how to turn on a simulator and develop exercises (technically) in the simulator, but not how to make the best use of the experiences that the learners gained from the simulator. So, I wrote a book that I had wished I had had –The Simulation Instructor’s Handbook, which was published by the Nautical Institute. Based on that work I have developed a workshop for simulator instructors, essentially to ‘train the trainer’. I was asked to present this workshop to the wonderful instructional teams at AngloEastern – starting initially in New Delhi and Mumbai, and then Odessa.
My short visit to Odessa (14-18 October) was a whirlwind of activity. The workshop sessions went smoothly, with the evenings providing time to explore a bit of this amazing city, as well as meet and discuss maritime issues with members of the NIU.
Maritime Education and Training
MET has been my passion since I first began teaching with the Canadian Coast Guard in 1992. Through the years I had the opportunity to expand my knowledge of educational theory through both a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Education – curriculum design and adult education. I began to look critically at the approaches used for maritime training and worked to bring into focus the work of Malcom Knowles on Andragogy (the art and science of teaching adults); Kolb’s experiential learning theory; the educational taxonomies of Bloom (cognitive domain), Dave (psychomotor domain) and Krathwohl (affective domain); and Kirkpatrick’s 4 levels of evaluation of training. Over the years I have had the pleasure of many discussions on adult learning theory, and it has been a joy to witness the support of the international MET community. This includes the International Maritime Lecturer’s Association (IMLA), GlobalMET, and the recent work of the IMO through the HTW Correspondence Group on Verb Taxonomy. The HTW Correspondence Group is looking verb taxonomies, including Bloom’s taxonomy, with reference to the STCW.
Odessa, with over 200 ship manning companies and several maritime training centres, is perfectly placed to be at the forefront of development of the future skills, knowledge and attitudes that will be required to be a maritime professional in 2020 and beyond. As we move to embrace additional technology, digital communications developments and autonomy in a growing number of areas of the maritime environment, MET will be the critical factor that prepares personnel. This includes ongoing development for existing personnel, and looking at what, and how, to train the next generations for both ship and shore positions.
Empowerment of Women in the Maritime Community
The world maritime day theme for 2019 focused on empowering women and girls (UN sustainability goal 5 ). This led to discussions on practical approaches that can be taken to recognize the existing imbalance of women in both seagoing and shore positions. Only 2% of seafarers are women – this means there is a large gap to fill! There are different theories on the ‘tipping point’ for social change. Even looking at the most recent study in Psychology Today, to reach a tipping point of approximately 25 will be difficult. So, the question to the maritime industry is ‘how can we move from 2% to 25 or 35% representation of women in our industry?’
During my time in Odessa I discussed the experience of the work done by my own branch in South East Australia. Through a focus facebook and Instagram presence, the NISEA ‘WiM 365 Challenge’ (#womeninmaritime 365 challenge) has provided an opportunity to highlight some of the amazing women in maritime from around the world – one profile each day for the 365 days of 2019. As we near the end of 2019, I am overwhelmed by the response and the stories that have come from our challenge.
Looking at the work that has been done in other areas, some points that should be considered in ongoing work include:
• Promoting maritime careers (afloat and ashore) in educational environments. This includes age appropriate curriculum included in school programs for early years; middle school and high school.
• Providing visibility of women working in maritime roles, through activities such as the WiM 365 Challenge; the recent launch of ‘Capt. Minnie’; including fully diverse images in all promotional and training materials.
• Implementing policies and procedures that support diversity. This includes ensuring companies have policies that support families, with maternity and paternity leave; safety policies that ensure size appropriate personal protective equipment; health and safety policies that are appropriate to all persons working in the industry.
• Eliminating practices that discriminate against underrepresented groups in interviews and employment, including women.
There are many others, but the underlying message is that the industry, as a whole, must consciously move to be fully inclusive.
The importance of the NI branch network
During the time in Odessa, we also discussed the important role of the NI branch network to provide members with a local focus for an international organization. The NIU has been so active in the past 20 years – can you believe it has been 20 years?! The leadership of The Nautical Institute in Ukraine reflects the overall importance of the Ukraine as a seafaring nation.
What can the NI do for the branches, and what can the branches do for the NI? This is a question we considered, looking at the work of the current NI Council, Executive Board and technical committees and also the work of the NI branches. The sharing of knowledge, through technical presentations and networking events is a core element of what the NI does. The branches are the focal point for maritime professionals in each area, with an opportunity to grow professionally, and personally, through interchange of ideas and expertise. The provision of NI short courses with leadership in the branches is another opportunity to enhance professionalism, while reaping the benefits on NI membership.
The volunteer element is crucial, and the ongoing support of those in the honorary roles for the NI in Ukraine is commendable. The work, particularly, of Vladimir Torskiy over the years as the branch secretary and also long-time council member, means that the NI in the Ukraine has continuity and drive.
The branches have a strong role in setting the direction of the Institute. As we conclude the current 5 year workplan we are looking at what the focus for the NI will be in the coming years. The President’s Questionnaire will be in the members mailboxes soon – it is important that we all take the time to complete this, and help set the direction for the NI in the coming years. Personally, I believe the NI needs to continue to focus on professional competence, looking to clarify what, exactly, a maritime professional is as we continue to experience a digital evolution in the maritime environment. What will be the role of enhanced digital data communication links? What is the impact of autonomy on the skill set of the maritime professional afloat and ashore? How may the continued focus on maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS) affect our members? There is so much that the NI can offer to you, and that you – as the members of the NI – can offer back!
All good things come to an end
My time in Odessa was all too short – the work was rewarding, and the opportunity to meet with the NIU executive an added bonus. Somehow, interweaved in all the work and discussions, I had an opportunity to visit some of the wonderous sites in Odessa – truly the pearl of the Black Sea. I found that the Black Sea is anything but black, that Catherine the Great was truly an amazing woman, and that Odessa boasts one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world, with amazing acoustics.
I am awed by the continuing strength of seafaring in Odessa, and in Ukraine, in the midst of political, technical and environmental upheaval. The maritime industry continues to be of critical importance for the global economy. The Nautical Institute continues to evolve to address the challenges and changes in our industry, and the NIU remains an active part in the work of the Institute and the industry.
Jillian Carson-Jackson, FNI, FRIN, Senior Vice-President, The Nautical Institute