Cloud-based training is key to close shipping’s widening skills gap
5 min read
22 Jun 2021
5 min read
22 Jun 2021
A massive technological change is underway throughout the maritime industry. Smart digital technologies and new ways of working are creating a worrying skills gap for crews that must operate a new generation of onboard systems, while at the same time understanding and complying with an expanding regulatory environment. A strategic partnership between Wärtsilä Voyage and Ocean Technologies Group represents an important move in meeting this challenge.
The Cloud Simulation services have changed forever the concept that seafarer training with simulators needs to be carried out in a classroom. By enabling instruction and training courses to be held using PCs, laptops, tablets and mobile devices, anywhere and at any time, the instructional reach of maritime training institutes has been exponentially extended.
Ocean Technologies Group (OTG) is the maritime sector’s leading learning and operational technologies company, serving 1400 customers, 20,000 ships, and more than a million seafarers worldwide. Thus, by agreeing to share their expertise and resources via a strategic partnership, Wärtsilä Voyage and OTG can together significantly enhance onboard efficiency and safety in the rapidly evolving and increasingly technologically focused maritime industry.
With complimenting digital technologies and platforms, the two companies are uniquely placed to deliver an end-to-end blended learning solution to all relevant stakeholders, including shipping companies, maritime training providers, manning agencies, and the seafarers themselves. It can be given on-demand via cloud-based solutions, as well as by in-person instruction in training centres or onboard ship.
Kick-started by the pandemic
The global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic suddenly made classroom training difficult, and often impossible, because of travel restrictions and social distancing requirements. The situation became manageable with Wärtsilä Voyage’s Cloud Simulation innovation, which allowed instruction to be continued digitally online. Although it came as a kick-starting disruptive service in a time of crisis, the introduction of remote access to learning has also accelerated the trend and increased the possibilities for institutes to introduce blended learning concepts, whereby classroom and remote instruction can be combined.
The partnership with OTG opens up a maritime learning ecosystem that enables the more efficient development of seafarers, allows an effective assessment of their competence, and unlocks their expertise in today’s challenging environment. It will be a significant contribution to making sure that mariners are properly equipped to safely and efficiently operate the vessels of today and tomorrow.
Our objective is to equip seafarers and users with the most relevant knowledge and resources, not only in a training centre, but also online and at point of operation onboard ships and other sites.
- Manish Singh, CEO of Ocean Technology Group
“Our partnership with Wärtsilä makes cloud simulation and type-specific training and technical resources available to seafarers and shore-based personnel, helping them gain proficiency in operating sophisticated Wärtsilä equipment,” explained Manish Singh, CEO of Ocean Technology Group.
Just the beginning
Initially, the partnership makes Wärtsilä Voyage’s Cloud Simulation services and training catalogue available through OTG’s significantly enhanced Ocean Learning Platform. This provides OTG’s global audience which combined with Wärtsilä’s extensive customer network, totals more than three thousand shipping companies and training centres, with access to Wärtsilä training, assessment, and certification on an ‘on-demand’ basis, any time, and from anywhere.
And this is just the beginning. Combining this with the learning, competence management, and instructional tools provided by the Ocean Learning Platform, including cutting-edge solutions such as OTG’s virtual classroom and rapid e-learning, the industry will be presented with the broadest and most comprehensive range of maritime specific digital learning solutions available to the market. For shipping companies and maritime training providers as they navigate the industry trend towards digital-learning, Wärtsilä Voyage and OTG are established and reliable partners providing a clear course to their destination.
As Sean Fernback, President of Wärtsilä Voyage points out: “The effective and competent use of Smart Marine technology is a critical component of its successful implementation.”
For both onboard and onshore personnel, the availability of simulated training ensures a smooth transition from traditional methods of operation.
- Sean Fernback, President of Wärtsilä Voyage
“By leveraging our combined smart learning technologies and mariner performance optimisation services, shipping can achieve the desired outcome of operating with more efficient, safer, and environmentally aware crews who are properly equipped to perform in a rapidly changing, digitised maritime sector.”
It is encouraging that ships are increasingly being fitted with the very latest and most modern equipment and systems that save fuel, increase safety, and protect the environment. However, if the full benefits of these technologies are to be realised, crews must have the skills needed to employ them correctly. Unfortunately, until now too often technology has been seen to develop faster than the ability of crews to keep pace. The collaboration between Wärtsilä Voyage and OTG is an exciting and innovative development towards closing this skills gap.