Management is a practice commonly applied to the usage of variables to solve a problem concerning a given situation depending on the skills and the variables themselves present at-hand. Management, with respect to maritime, breaks down into 2x types; risk and sovereignty management where the former addresses identification and mitigation of threats in order to reduce exposure to loss faced by respective organisations; the latter is basically a group of organisational processes required to control a maritime domain including strategic planning and establishment of policies and objectives with management of resources and regulation of activities.
Management directly involves the human factor of employees and thus training is another variable to consider in order to understand its importance in maritime. In maritime, the personnel targeted towards the training program are ship crews (officers, engineers and pilots) as well as shore-based personnel. Involvement of the human factor means that motivation of the workers plays an important role as without it, job quality would suffer along with the final output altogether; presenting options such as teamwork and willingness to change behavior.
The questions to ask, for trainers and managers when placing employees onto courses is what are they trying to achieve and why are they in that certain program? Common lore believes that an important element in a competent training program is a comprehensive performance analysis as they also provide the necessary motivation for a trainee, who automatically is motivated to achieve certification and the job they are training for. The created motivation here, however does not harness a trainee’s full potential therefore demanding further analysis.
The motivation itself has differences between natures of after-effects left within the perceptions of trainees; for instance the motivation presented only within an assessment equals towards “passing the test” for its own merit. This level of motivation creates a notion that the process itself is more of a roadblock which prevents obtaining the desired qualification and thus reduces the desire to learn and improve; making the practice futile along with creating an artificial limit to how much one should learn; limiting only to the minimum passing requirement and not to full potential.
Unfortunately, most trainers and instructors fail to create this desire to learn and fall into the “passing the test” trap which damages the industry in the long run; also creating the “un-attractive” stigma to the maritime business. This error is possibly due to the calculated, precision-demanding nature of the 21st century where results matter more than methods therefore, focusing almost entirely on assessment. In the modern world, most professionals of any field believe mostly in calculated decisions and facts which if present even a minor chance of fail guarantees an instant deal-breaker.
Assessment became a primary focus when companies and organisations when it became somewhat possible to calculate/predict failure where the requirement for tests and examinations found fertile soil. However, this calculated nature provided an equally calculated solution which is limited in scope to the bare essentials to avoid failures that are mostly theoretical. Contrary to this demand for a calculated, theory-centric learning/training process, the creation and maintenance of a desire to learn motivation decreases a chance for failure in ways that a trainee with this desire would not only solve theoretical problems but also detect other errors not known before as his/her knowledge would exceed and grow exponentially as he/she is working/learning.
So how to create this desire to learn? Firstly, in order to present material and theory it is essential to give both a context relevant to the field itself as well as placing it into situations that an average trainee desires from his position; presenting significance and relevance as well as magnitude of a certain role with reference to proximity to the industry and the fragment a trainee occupies.
Maritime, for example is an industry that is important for the modern globalised world as many aspects of other industries overlap with it and will not function if certain requirements are not met within its sphere. This large network of different white and blue collar professionals cannot be summarised simply by calculations and theory which means that employees training within this sphere sometimes (near always) lose sight of the industry and its importance in a sea of theoretical and calculated variables which present their own sub-categories to grasp; driving trainees to question the relevance and limit themselves to simply the passing threshold.
In practice, procedures should always involve the trainee having a field day with an expert in the field being taught; meeting all the challenges, obligations as well as seeing the solutions to common problems within the job. This practice takes off the training wheels of a trainee and not only shows everything as it is but also increases self-esteem when solutions are administered with own skill and knowledge. Compared to an actual field day, the conventional training program will feel like if a trainee pilot (or other maritime specialist) is trying to navigate through a small, pre-planned shallow lake specially built for training; accomplishing which does not build self-esteem as it is meant to be accomplished in one way only.
The conventional approach also may result in fatal errors which also borderline loss of life; factors which may not be seen through conventional methods. Another example is vessel design where the phase concerns placement of machinery and life-saving equipment where the context can be introduced with focuses on extreme situations; something stimulating extreme nervous responses in a trainee’s psyche. Taking responsibility for a disaster/accident is one of the worst experiences for a human being regarding explanation to authorities/superiors and personal conscience; creating a stimulant to pay closer attention to explanations, obviously contextualised to relevant situations.
So far, context towards relevant situations represented adequately within the training process plays an important part in creating motivation for trainees. Trainees have their own perception and impression, mostly positive about their chosen occupation and therefore warrant an appropriate attitude. Maritime is an important industry with alot of relevance as well as impact on worldwide commercial scene; a factor that in theory, should provide enough motivation and positive impression.
In conclusion, motivation plays a vital part not only in training of future employees but also in safety of maritime operations. Training programs in the modern world, unfortunately cater towards a theoretical, calculated approach which eliminates interest in learning any skills and breaks it down into a sea of calculations and theoretical drills that are meant to be completed in one way. The maritime industry is non-linear and very action-oriented where experience and practical solutions as well as knowledge of situations; something that can only be learned through field tests and practical, non-linear tutorials where skill and own knowledge are more useful than revision of pre-planned routines and facts that are mostly irrelevant to the given situation.