Tell us about your new role at BachmannHR and how and when this came about?
Whilst I joined Bachmann’s in 2008, and was initially responsible for the Guernsey payroll and employment business, in a few short years I had taken on the responsibility of operations in the UK, France, Poland, New Zealand and the British Virgin Islands.
In early 2013 my role changed to CEO of BachmannHR Group Ltd with control of our main employment business, the commercial and yacht recruitment, specialised marine labour and consultancy work, technical assistance and as ever corporate management.
This summer, our founder Peter Bachmann will retire and whilst he remains passionate about the business, he realised it was time to pass on the mantle to a younger team to continue the development of the company. Therefore in June this year, agreement was reached between Peter and myself to purchase the business from him.
What can clients still expect from BachmannHR?
Shipping has always been a very traditional business conducted in a time honoured way and over the years BachmannHR has successfully followed along these lines. Today the marine industry has changed, as it has always been you have the commercial shipping companies who want the way we do our business with them to remain, but now we also have yacht owners who, whilst respecting that yachts have to be operated in accordance with international rules, want to enjoy their assets and seek ways to get the most out of their yacht and the crew that work onboard.
Crew are changing too, whilst people working in traditional shipping have normally seen it as a career, until recently yacht crew often saw their work as a stepping stone until they were settled.
However the BachmannHR Group has also changed. Whilst we still cater for tradition, we are now able to offer crew a one stop shop, with employment, benefits (pensions, medicare, sickness cover) and personal banking which is unique to the employee and transferable when they move positions. Today we are able to offer interactive platforms allowing employees to send data, monitor how they are rewarded, change their investment portfolio in the pension plan and carry out foreign exchange transactions allowing them to sends funds around the world when it suits them and utilising some of the best exchange rates available on the day.
Thus clients can still expect all the traditional services that Bachmann’s have offered, but with up to date products and services suitable for today’s yachting industry
What has been your involvement with the industry thus far?
The marine industry has been my life and it has looked after my family and I very well. Coming from a shipping family, my father and two uncles were in the Merchant Navy, so it did not come as a surprise to many that I too went to sea. However working as second mate on VLCC’s operating between the Gulf and Europe was not fulfilling enough and I soon realised I wanted to do more within the industry than sail on the ships.
Coming ashore, I did a degree in Maritime Commerce in Cardiff, which was followed by a Graduate Trainee program with Sea Containers and specifically Sealink, the ferry company they owned. Even at this point the sea was influencing my life as it was here I met my wife who was working for the Jetfoil service running between the UK and Belgium.
Following several years ferry operations and luxury small cruise ships, in 2003 I returned to ferries operating services to Orkney and Shetland and introducing new ships, new port facilities and new working conditions. The company I was working for was a client of Bachmann and so when I was asked to join them, having experienced the quality of service, I did not hesitate to head south to a warmer Channel Islands climate.
What are some industry issues/struggles you are seeing and dealing with at the moment – perhaps an update from the MLC, Careers and Recruitment meeting in Palma now that we're so close to MLC deadline?
Considering we are just a month away from MLC becoming a requirement, it does concern me that there are still so many unanswered questions that no doubt will be left to interpretation.
I am disappointed that having been a product of the British Merchant Navy, that the UK has still not ratified the MLC and really hope that this delay will not have an effect on UK flagged vessels or those of the Red Ensign Group.
Generally within the MLC, there are areas which still require clarification specifically with regards to abandonment provisions for the seafarer and sickness benefit for crew members. Issues such as abandonment, sickness cover and who is responsible for what remain somewhat complicated for those involved. However, we are happy to provide clarification and help to those who require it.
The MLC is an unknown, with everyone fearful that inspectors, be they Flag or Port State will adopt different ways of dealing with the same issues. That may be the case, however I am positive that they will take a pragmatic approach and within 12 months we will see a common way of handling all issues in regards to the MLC.