The International DP Operators Association (IDPOA) has been hard at work on a new program to aid self funded DPO’s gain the sea time needed for an unlimited DP license.
IDPOA believes there is currently a bottleneck developing within the Dynamic Positioning (DP) Operators training / certification scheme. Trainees are reportedly having difficulty fulfilling the Phase-2 (30 day seatime) requirement of the training scheme. This is verified by the following sources:
- Individuals. There is an increase in the number of self-funded trainees seeking advice from the Nautical Institute (NI), International Dynamic Positioning Operators Association (IDPOA), and from training providers on prospective employment for the Phase 2 period of the training scheme.
- Training Providers. An increasing number of training providers have reported to the NI a significant drop off in the numbers of trainees seeking Simulator/Advanced courses compared with those taking the Induction/Basic. This issue has been recognized by the DP- Training Executive Group (DP-TEG).
- Employers & Crewing Agencies. Employers in all DP industry sectors have indicated difficulty in accessing sufficient numbers of suitably qualified DPO’s. The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has spoken out strongly on the general issue and of a need to assist it’s members in, “Tackling the skills shortage”.
- Certifying Authority. The NI has indicated a lag between the number of DP logbooks issued, compared to the number of DPO certificates ultimately issued.
- Contracting Government. India’s DG of Shipping recently reported their view that there are insufficient numbers of Indian DPO’s coming through to service the Indian sector. At a meeting of the NI and DGS, there was concern voiced at a perceived, “blockage in the system”. Though it was recognized that this was also due to the small number of accredited Indian training facilities.
The Potential Solution
IDPOA has identified the steps it believes needs to be taken in order to address this situation. They are:
- Formally identify “self funded” trainees entering phase 2 without a planned onboard training slot
- Develop “live” database of available trainees
- Facilitate contact between employers and DP Trainees
- Get DP Trainees onto the vessels of employers with capacity
How can we accomplish this?
The concept is to bring together individual Trainee DPO’s, the training centres, and the owners to follow the potential solution as outlined above. Currently the NI’s DP-TEG has expressed support and has agreed to ongoing discussions, the UK Chamber of Shipping‘s Offshore Vessels Committee is also currently potentially interested in the initiative. Talks are ongoing, but other partners are required.
IDPOA would provide and host an online method of collecting information from trainee DPO’s – This data would be provided by the individuals themselves, they would be notified of the scheme during their Basic/Induction training by NI accredited training providers.
Once entered onto the system, the Trainees state that they require a shipboard training position. The database will remain contemporary by requiring trainees to periodically (perhaps every week, or two weeks as a minimum) to confirm their continuing availability.
Appropriate DP vessel owners will be granted access to the system, and those that have capacity on their vessels will be able to search for appropriate personnel in order to offer “training” positions. Or alternatively will be able to post upcoming positions and trainees within the scheme will be able to apply.
What is the next step?
As an industry we can’t bemoan the “skill shortage” and then simply hide away, ignoring any blockages in the training scheme. We need to explore and support the means of fixing the system. Nor can we promote careers working with DP, but then turn our backs on those who invest their own money and time to progress.
The framework is in place, now more support from industry, ship owners in particular, is required. If you are an employer and believe this to be worthwhile programme, please do get in touch – and we will ultimately provide a win-win situation for all involved.
For Individuals or Employers looking for more information on the program, please email [email protected]