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  • #31
    Originally posted by laura View Post
    I work and have worked with a lot of guys with British CECs who scare the hell out of me on a regular basis. That the college didn't cover it is a poor excuse for incompetency!
    I would suggest Laura that unfortunately you haven't sailed with the majority of good quality British Officers that we have in the MN and you have been stuck with guys who hold a CEC not CoC which is a whole new subject that gets my back up!

    I hope one day you will be on a ship where the Officer above you can give you great guidance and really put your knowledge to the test, push your boundaries of knowledge and encourage you to exceed!
    Pilotage - It's just a controlled allision

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    • #32
      I don't feel so unfortunate, I have a fantastic Captain and wouldn't want to sail with anyone else, if I had a tenth of his knowledge and experience in shiphandling and seamanship I would be pretty happy. My Chief Mate isn't so bad either, and neither have a British ticket between them, or an SQA exam for that matter, and not because they did the FD course As for the junior officers I sail with, the less said the better.

      I have always been quietly proud to be a British seafarer but the reality is I've never sailed with British seafarers and the way things are am unlikely to in the future. Majority? There wasn't so much as a minority on the ships I've sailed on. On a large offshore project in the UK sector I've been involved in this trip the only accent on the field from the UK among the five vessels working there was from myself and those on the standby boat, it's embarrassing to say the least. How can we have an MN when we have so few vessels in the fleet left and we can't even send our cadets to train with our own officers. Increased academics cannot replace core elements of decent hands on training, but of course that is only my opinion. I would opt for a longer cadetship, but then that would mean companies committing to trainees long term, not just giving them the minimum sea time on their foreign manned but British flagged ships and throwing them through college as quickly and cheaply as possible. I say this because I care about the future of British Seafaring.

      This exemption debate is probably going to go round in circles based on different experiences and opinions, I still think Alistair is right and we should concentrate on other priorities. The MCA sets the rules, not us.

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      • #33
        Seems like those against are those who already have chief mate tickets. Sounds a lot like rent seeking to me.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rent_seeking

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        • #34
          Not just people with Chief Mates tickets - the MCA has had a policy reversal and its SQA's for all. Better get a wiggle on if you want to get your ticket the easy way.

          *Throws hand grenade*

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          • #35
            I think that Stability does need to be addressed and the SQA's may or may not be the way forward with that. The SQA's do without a doubt sort the men from the boys, they just an incredibly hard challenge and I can't say I totally agree with that. I think in my group of 20+ guys doing Chief Mates only 3 of us passed both exams first time. Within the first week of the course we were given a stability assessment exam by Ron Price, who in a matter of fact way told a few students that they were wasting the time and should consider doing the NVQ Portfolio route or try an alternative career.
            The SQA's have seen some good officers from my original cadetship choose a career ashore after several attempts. They do bring your standard of Stability up a long way from what is needed at HND and Foundation Degree level, primarily because of the way they are assessed/marked. One clerical error could result in the complete failure of the exam, and failing one exam can actually result in you failing the other exam that you've passed.
            However, an alternative method of equal quality could be substituted.

            When it comes to Laura's comments about British Officers it does make me quite sad that she's had such a poor experience with them so far. I have sailed with some awful British Officers and Crew as well (primarily in the North Sea, but had a few on the cruise ships), but on the most part have sailed with some excellent Officers who really have a dedication and knowledge far superior then most nationalities that I've sailed with, but generally they are the people who have a true passion for the job and are at sea because they want to be, unlike some of our friends from 3rd world countries who are simply choosing the least worst option of many. The Mates column in the September Seaways reaffirms to me how motivated some of my fellow nationals are.
            Also in terms of deck crew, the best I've ever sailed with are Brits, Australia, Kiwis and South Africans on the Super Yachts, far far superior in terms of seamanship, attitude and workmanship then anyone I've sailed with in the commercial world and would do a far better job 9 times out of 10 then guys from the Far East. But then when a Deckhand is on 2000-3000 euros a month + bonus and the Bosun on anything upto 7000 euro a month plus bonus, you can choose a better calibre of Deck Crew.

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            • #36
              The whole thing about British CEC's being issued to STCW complied countries I personally think is nonsense. They should have to complete some kind of formal study like switching to an AUS certificate or at least an Oral.

              Too often I have seen Officers from (Majority eastern europe) who don't really have a clue and have quite honestly told me they have paid for their ticket in 1 form or another...

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by YoungMariner View Post
                that they were wasting the time and should consider doing the NVQ Portfolio route or try an alternative career.
                The SQA's have seen some good officers from my original cadetship choose a career ashore after several attempts. They do bring your standard of Stability up a long way from what is needed at HND and Foundation Degree level, primarily because of the way they are assessed/marked. One clerical error could result in the complete failure of the exam, and failing one exam can actually result in you failing the other exam that you've passed.
                However, an alternative method of equal quality could be substituted.

                .
                This was pretty much what I was getting at - we were also told if your not sh*t hot at Stability and Nav leave and do the NVQ route etc, if people are being told this then surely it means the SQA is the challenging option and not doing them is the easy option?

                I will say without the excellent Ron Price at WMA I would have failed!
                Pilotage - It's just a controlled allision

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                • #38
                  How does the NVQ route work? Seen it on the chart in MGN 92 but theirs not much explanation.

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                  • #39
                    As far as I am aware the NVQ route has also be binned. All candidates will have to do the SQA Writtens (I think)

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                    • #40
                      The NVQ is/was another portfolio where you completed tasks and reports in lieu of the SQA exams. Apparently they had a tougher oral exam focusing on stability, but that's heresay.

                      The MNTB seem to be trying hard to get around the SQAs because it is such a major stumbling block for many people wanting to progress and the MCA are pushing back equally hard.

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                      • #41
                        An NVQ or SVQ at Levels 2 and 3 was part of the cadetship until around the time the FD/PD route was introduced. Level 2 was deck hand stuff, and was completed by trainee deck hands. Level 3 was OOW stuff. The VQ was part of the course of training to satisfy the STCW requirements to lower overall sea time required from 36 months to 12 months. This has continued in the form of the restyled training portfolio that appears to be broadly based on the VQ portfolio, but without the specific written reports that were required for VQ.

                        VQ Level 4 was optional, could be commenced after qualifying as OOW, and if successfully completed exempted candidates from MCA Mates/Masters written exams. It was a bit different in style to the Level 2/3 VQ, IIRC it had even more emphasis on written reports, but with looser topic guidance. Again, it was withdrawn mid-2000s.

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                        • #42
                          Just some questions, perhaps someone's knows the answer to.
                          The FD route as I understand it has a requirement for most modules to be passed at a higher pass mark than is required to gain an FD, the pass marks are almost the level required to gain a 2.1 or above or distinction at FD, plus the MCA has a requirement for 80% attendance at college. You could in theory get an FD but not pass it at the level the MCA requires. Reading the framework doc, this is where the exemptions are mentioned, the modules on management etc and style of an FD was used because it promotes independent learning and lifelong learning amongst other things, some modules are at a higher level than HND too?
                          Does the HND have a higher pass mark requirement like the FD and attendance requirement too? If not perhaps this is why FD has exemptions and also because FD students are required to self study and research, and not quite so much teacher led?
                          In many ways this argument reminds me of the old O level GCSE arguments.
                          The FD and HND are benchmarked, and from I have read the whole idea was to phase out HND. One reason was as it allows 16 year olds who are less likely to have the maturity and staying power of an 18 year old.There will of course be perfectly capable 16 year olds who will do well.
                          Just because the MCA has a requirement that those without exemptions must pass two exams at the same time, doesn't mean that its a good way either. Seems daft I would have thought it better to just require a resit of the exam which hadn't reached the grade.
                          The framework doc also says that FD students should have to do more sea time than the 12 months the MCA require, think it was 3 months more. Does that happen?
                          Perhaps they will tweak the FD modules and keep the exemption if its felt its not as testing as the other route, it is after all a relatively new way of qualifying. Oh and is the cut off date 2017 the last FD student qualifying as oow or is it by which time they must have the seatime done? It didn't seem that clear.
                          http://www.mntb.org.uk/en-GB/Training-Frameworks
                          Last edited by Midge; 18 September 2013, 08:33 AM. Reason: added link to framework

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                          • #43
                            I haven't done the FD, I done HNC/D so I can tell you about that.

                            The MCA Requirement is always 80% attendance over both the FD and HND. The HND has several units, some are considered the core units, such as stability and navigation, these require a passmark of 65%, the other units such as Meteorology and ships structure only require a passmark of 50%. These are all internal exams set by the college, at the end of the year their are graded units which is a combination of every subject in 1 exam, split into 2 papers, and I THINK the passmark for this is 60%.

                            The sea time is supposed to be much higher for all cadets however if people train at approved "MCA Approved training centres" They reduce the sea time to 12 months. As far as I can tell the HND and FD students learn all the same stuff, but the FD is completed in roughly 3 years, where as the HND takes 3 and a half years, putting the extra pressure on people. Hope that answered some of your questions

                            Edit* Before HND cadets can be issued with an Officer of the Watch certificate, they are required to sit two written exams (known as the SQA's) which are professional competence exams set by the MCA in Navigation, stability and ship operations. These are set externally and invidulated by SQA/MCA Surveyors. FD candidates are exempt from taking these exams and only need to pass the oral exams, hence the whole debate.... Why are peopele exempt from professional competence exams, regardless of their education

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                            • #44
                              Up until fairly recently (5 years ago) the HND route was the only mainstream route (I think them BSc Plymouth route had been available but much rarer) and was either standard or fast track. 3 yrs verses 3.5 years. The academic content of the Foundation Degree and the HND are similar, but as pointed out above much more independent in the Foundation Degree, the final result is the same. The HND, NVQ and FD are mostly there for the purpose of government funding for the course, and the FD I believe particularly to attract people to a career at sea.
                              With the previous HND route the SQA exams were only required prior to taking the Chief Mates oral. I don't think the MCA will budge on reintroducing the SQAs and replacing them with something more sensible for candidates across the board.

                              Regardless of the above, I very much doubt that there is a great deal of difference between the dropout rates and personnel moving ashore (most people only last 7-12 years at sea on average) between the old HND system, current HND system and Foundation Degree system regardless of age.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Yes I had understood the SQA thing, I was wondering though if the content of the FD modules was the same. If FD modules are covering more and have a more in depth content and a higher pass mark I think some are at 80% wondered if that were the reason for an exemption, or if it were purely down to the style of teaching, in that HND is aimed at those less academically inclined. (Though some may do it as they lack the 'right A Levels').
                                Seems odd if they content is exactly the same, the pass marks are the same to make some jump through 'extra hoops', thereby creating an us and them situation, never good.
                                Of course there was a choice people could make and that was to get A levels and do the FD, but that would of course require companies to want that too.
                                I do think from my limited knowledge that the training at sea should be looked at. From what I have read peoples experience of it varies hugely from the very good, to the plain ugly. It seems some don't come away knowing the job well enough to be confident when they qualify, as the training they received was inadequate, not by officers who know the British system, despite that being an MCA requirement, yet others have very good officers who take time to train their cadets properly.
                                As both the HND and FD are work based learning qualifications sea training as I see it applies equally to them, though I think the FD TRB is maybe a little different?
                                Presumably the oral exam will be testing elements of the written exams so the knowledge would need to be there. Perhaps then the skills of doing an FD of independent learning, research, in a short time scale is when they have to put that element into practice to take their oral exam and be able to pass it.
                                Will be interesting to see what changes they make, whatever they do I hope they make it fair with adequate notice and not do a 'Gove' on it, there's been a bit too much of that lately in education!
                                Last edited by Midge; 18 September 2013, 09:37 AM. Reason: dodgy spelling and grammar.

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