For several years the yachting industry has suffered a shortage of qualified engineers. Another problem has been the lack of transferability of engineering qualifications across different sectors of the marine industry.
Discussions have been taking place since early 2014, with a view to creating a system to standardize qualifications and allow engineers to work across all vessel categories under 3,000gt.
Possible solutions to this were discussed at the PYA Headline Sea Changes Forum in Monaco last year, with input from Captain Roger Towner of the UK MCA, Michelle Richmond, Director of the Institution of Engineering, Kevin Slade, Chairman of the Merchant Navy Training Board and David Loosley, CEO of IMAREST. A separate engineering workshop was also hosted by the IET.
In July a new Marine Information Note, MIN 524 (M+F), was issued by the MCA, outlining training, examination and certification for ‘Engineer Officer Small Vessel Certificate of Competency’, which will allow engineers to work across a range of vessel s, from yachts to tugs, government patrol, seismic survey, research, standby, workboats or fishing vessels.
Specifically, MIN 524 states, “The route for certification is structured to provide a progressive career path for those in the industry to achieve Small Vessel engineer qualifications.”
The PYA engineering workgroup and the IET have worked together to restructure engineering training and certification across the marine industry, with particular emphasis on practical skills rather than simply teaching engineers to pass exams, a grass roots criticism often leveled at the current route to Chief Engineer (Y4).
The planned changes will make training more structured and more relevant across sectors, and with transferable qualifications it is hoped that engineering becomes a more attractive career choice.