Seafaring is a good and clean profession. Work hard and then enjoy. No politics, good hygienic food, comfortable living conditions and good wages. There is a good system in place where you can send almost 80 per cent of your wages to your bank through allotment. There are good social security schemes as well, implemented well by all companies. Indian seafarers should work longer at sea while they are young to learn the work.
In our Marine colleges, we still do not give more importance to skill training. The cadets of some financially well to do colleges should be sent for skill enhancement training being conducted by other organizations such as IDEMI at Sion (E) and Don Bosco at Kurla. There is lot of automation on ships now and, therefore, the colleges must expose their students for relevant training, not the students alone, but the faculty also. It is wrongly assumed that the student who goes to a marine college passes out after receiving good training. The assumption is wrong because most of the faculty and the Principals themselves do not upgrade their knowledge and teach philosophy and psychology and waste time. No one is bothering about this aspect.
On board training involving equipment manufacturers or repairers will show results.
Such trainers can sail with the ship from port A to port B and carry out training and Audit. Then, at some selected ports, where experts may be readily available, the trainer comes on board and imparts on the job training to few officers who may be off duty. Subsequently, these officers can impart training to others. Companies should pay for such training (instead of not so realistic training ashore) and keep track if the relay training is being carried out or not. For example, a second officer and Master receives training in one port, they must then become trainer for other officers. Here, the intention is not to criticize any one or belittle any existing system, the aim is to improve upon and make the training as realistic (on the job) as it can be.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)