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  • Norwegian training system

    In other countries such as Norway and Germany cadets complete all their career exams during their initial 3 year training, meaning that to get their mates and masters tickets its just a matter of clocking in the sea time and applying for it with no further exams written or oral.

    In my opinion this seems a much more sensible way of going about things, the UK way of going back to college and doing repeated oral exams seems a bit unnecessarily convoluted and is of no real added benefit, the OOW, Mate and Master oral exams are almost the same anyway, your just have to word your answers slightly differently, so it's a bit mad having to do it three times in your career. A Masters standard of oral exam once would be more than enough.

    The Norwegian officers I've come across all think our system of ticketing is ridiculous when discussing it, they can't believe that when some people are older with a wife and kids and loads of bills to pay that they might have to go back to college for an extended period.

    It also reportedly leads to a higher and more intelligent standard of OOW, as only people capable of passing a Masters standard of exam can get an OOW ticket initially.

    Perhaps it could be a good idea to phase this more sensible system into the UK, what are other peoples opinions?

    Implementing it would obviously cause outcry from training centres as they they might lose income from less courses.

  • #2
    Although it sounds good on paper I think our system is better. The difference in experience when completing your oow and masters is huge. It's all very well learning advanced stability etc as a cadet, but with no practical experience to relate it to, or the chance to use it at sea as you will be sailing as a junior officer initially, it will soon be forgotten.

    With the certificates in stages the knowledge stays fresher, and the understanding of the higher level officer duties better. However I do believe the MCA needs to streamline the courses, remove the filler, modernise and get rid of (or at the very least rejig) the SQA exams and the ridiculous marking scheme.

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    • #3
      I think there's merit in this idea. If not that then certainly bringing things up to date so you can apply for NOEs, Oral exams etc online, removal of the two week wait before booking a resit, moving all the records online so maybe there is a portal to see what certification the mca has copies of and what else you need for the next ticket etc.

      Half the battle is the hilariously outdated and convoluted way of applying for things where your have to fill out all these forms then post them, then recieve them back, then post them again, then post off your pass NOE and wait to recieve your coc (provided they don't need anything else from you) etc. It's a compete nonsense tbh and there's no reason for it to still be done this way in the 21st century.

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      • #4
        I think that all the written exams should be completed during the cadetship as its completely unfair to many people. However, I feel that the orals at each level should remain, I do feel that is an important part of the upgrading process and the kind of questions and thought processes required for a Masters oral would not be suitable for someone with 12 months seatime as a cadet. I also think that a 5 day short course with a simulator assessment before the Masters Oral would also be beneficial in assessing the realistic abilities of a seafarer. The European way does clearly work, but it doesn't mean its the best way of assessing someones ability and making the examinations easier and easier isn't doing anyone any favours.
        However, I also fear that our system has gone the wrong way moving towards the foundation degree with A level entry requirements, bringing through a lot of people who without a doubt meet the academic requirements, but have no interest or ability in the practical seamanship elements which are critical in the higher ranks.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by EH75 View Post
          Half the battle is the hilariously outdated and convoluted way of applying for things where your have to fill out all these forms then post them, then recieve them back, then post them again, then post off your pass NOE and wait to recieve your coc (provided they don't need anything else from you) etc. It's a compete nonsense tbh and there's no reason for it to still be done this way in the 21st century.
          Completely agree. Why can't we just present our certificate and documents at the oral. The surveyor could inspect them in the first 5 minuets. When you pass your exam he could put it in his computer and you coc would a pear in the post

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Lewis View Post
            Completely agree. Why can't we just present our certificate and documents at the oral. The surveyor could inspect them in the first 5 minuets. When you pass your exam he could put it in his computer and you coc would a pear in the post
            Whilst at it they could follow suit with some other countries who issue the CoC in credit card sized format, as is all the STCW certification. Time to get with the times. CoC checking should be an open service as well, everyone should sign a waiver allowing their details to be online. Tap in the CoC number into a website and up comes all your info and a photo, would certainly go a long way towards fraud prevention.

            Ah well, it's the MCA....

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            • #7
              Originally posted by YoungMariner View Post
              Whilst at it they could follow suit with some other countries who issue the CoC in credit card sized format, as is all the STCW certification. Time to get with the times. CoC checking should be an open service as well, everyone should sign a waiver allowing their details to be online. Tap in the CoC number into a website and up comes all your info and a photo, would certainly go a long way towards fraud prevention.

              Ah well, it's the MCA....
              There should be a modernisation of the certification system for sure.

              For years offshore workers have had their Vantage cards, which means that they don't have to carry any certificates when they join a rig, all their training and medical information is recorded on a central database that can be verified by companies. There should definatly be an implementation of a similar system for the maritime sector.

              It would be a great day if you could join a ship without any folders of paper certificates, and all you had was a credit card that contained a picture of you and a number that could be tapped into a website that gave all your information that is required.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by GarnetWomack View Post
                There should be a modernisation of the certification system for sure.

                For years offshore workers have had their Vantage cards, which means that they don't have to carry any certificates when they join a rig, all their training and medical information is recorded on a central database that can be verified by companies. There should definatly be an implementation of a similar system for the maritime sector.

                It would be a great day if you could join a ship without any folders of paper certificates, and all you had was a credit card that contained a picture of you and a number that could be tapped into a website that gave all your information that is required.
                That would probably be fairly easy to implement in first world countries, but would be a nightmare in places like Africa... Could you imagine the bribes... sorry fines...

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                • #9
                  I am pretty sure every officer goes through the same thoughts that you have raised here when it comes time to do their Chief Mates or Masters, especially when you're surrounded by other nationalities who appear to not know as much as you, but obtain their licence automatically after spending so long at sea...

                  On the reverse side though, can you honestly say that by the time you come round to doing your chief mates you remember most of the stuff you were taught at college 3+ years earlier? You could argue that this is negated by the fact that at sea, your meant to learn by doing and learn from the officers above you, but these days can you honestly say that is even possible on most ships, when quite often you come across "higher ranking" officers who are equally clueless due to not having the correct development/teaching/learning on their way up the ladder?

                  I would love to turn round and say; let's automatically issue licences of a certain level based on sea going experience and leave it up to the companies to decide when they will actually promote people based on their competence - while for some companies this would work well, I would argue that there are several times the number of companies that would just promote the cheapest regardless of wether they are competent or not - so while you could also say, I wouldnt want to work for such a company - doesn't really matter when one of their ships decides to ram you!

                  I do agree that we need to review the system, but I would stop short of automatically issuing licences based on sea experience.

                  I would love to see a centralised system where seatime is recorded and can't be fudged by individuals, as opposed to a page in a book that you can fill in yourself and nobody will question. The international nature of this industry at the moment allows so many people to slip through the gap and so many companies clearly never bother to check!
                  “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

                  – Mark Twain
                  myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.

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                  • #10
                    I have to say I fall on the side of the UK examination system. The Hatchling was recently chosen to attend a training session for his Company where there was a Captain, A Chief Officer, A Second Officer and himself as Third Officer. When it came to maths tests, rule of the road tests, simulator tests etc. he came top. Now, I am not saying he is the best Third Officer out there by a long way, but I do think our system is robust, withstands scrutiny from any quarter, and turns out uniformly well qualified officers who know their job......

                    When I was in the Merchant Navy the UK Certificate of Competence was considered the best in the world. Hopefully the standards are no different today. Therefore I think we should continue to test our Officers on the knowledge they have gained and not just on time served......

                    Ian.
                    "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester.

                    "Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear." - Buzzy Trent

                    "Careers at Sea" Ambassador - Experience of General Cargo, Combo ships, Tanker, Product Carrier, Gas Carrier, Ro-Ro, Reefer Container, Anchor Handlers.

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                    • #11
                      Well here's a huge can of worms, there is no best system sorry but non of them are perfect.

                      Sailing with juniors of all nationalities I can safely say that auto ticketing is nonsense, you end up with 3 and 4 stripe officers who have pretty much done no, non, zero refresher training on the way up the ladder, I'm have to teach 3 stripes about cylinder lubrication it's aims and functions it's calculation,how a cross head works, and why we do some stuff the way we do. Even purifiers have to taught and retaught cos they never take ownership of machinery, they all do everything and consequently no one has any responsabulity. It can be incredibly frustrating when a 4th can't even sound tanks as it's beneath them.....they are an officer dontcherknow. ...BOLLOCKS, frankly.

                      If you are ready for the next ticket / job then the college time should be mostly refresher time and maybe some new stuff like the ISO or MLC etc.

                      Instead some companies now insist on computer based training road map that you must complete prior to promotion,however as a uk officer you will find that everything covered is in the ticket you just sat.?..seriously..?.you just did college time and now you repeat on computer cos the company needs to level the playing field due to such nonsense as I'm a captain/chief engineer in all but sea time.

                      This debate is not so dissimilar to the degradation of grades/qualifications, I only have a poor little HND yet I see aledged graduate cadets who know less than I did AT THE SAME POINT IN MY CAREER. So now everyone wants a degree and no further exams...ideally they want no exams at all cos that way no one fails.

                      Our system may not be the best and yes some areas need modernisation without a doubt, but I'll take it over the wishy washy no one ever fails and just need sea time every time.
                      Trust me I'm a Chief.

                      Views expressed by me are mine and mine alone.
                      Yes I work for the big blue canoe company.
                      No I do not report things from here to them as they are quite able to come and read this stuff for themselves.


                      Twitter:- @DeeChief

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by alistairuk View Post
                        On the reverse side though, can you honestly say that by the time you come round to doing your chief mates you remember most of the stuff you were taught at college 3+ years earlier? Y
                        Tbf I did my chief mates a few months ago and have already forgotten most of the stuff I was taught then!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by EH75 View Post
                          Tbf I did my chief mates a few months ago and have already forgotten most of the stuff I was taught then!
                          Did you pass? I'm still have the navigation written and the oral outstanding. What I disagree with is being left in a room with only yourself and one examiner during orals. If that blokes got a habit of failing people just because he gets a kick out of it, then there's no one else around to put him in his place. (this rant has nothing to do with any personnel experience at Glasgow MCA office). The German oral exams has three examiners so that the candidate is always assessed fairly.

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                          • #14
                            Yeah I passed. Good point about the number of examiners. I actually had another guy in mine who was assessing the examiner and found the exam very fair (much more straightforward than previous exams where there was no extra person) so I think there is merit in that system. However given the mca seem to be struggling for surveyors as it is I doubt they would have the extra manpower!

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                            • #15
                              Was in the Transport Canada office to apply for a CoC last week, they are going the same way as Norway after they implement the Manila Amendments fully, nobody in the office seemed too keen on it.

                              I think our system is better, to me it's more of a kick up the arse when it comes to preparing for the next rank.

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