As the 1 January, 2017, deadline for refresher training approaches, crew are (hopefully) booking in their courses, to ensure all their relevant certificates are valid come the new year (for more information on the requirements, don’t miss our Recruitment & Training Guide, at this year’s Monaco Yacht Show and with issue 79 of The Crew Report). And, as we know, some of the most popular schools among crew are already booked up until late this year – leave it another month or so and crew may well have to look elsewhere.
One part of the world that is gaining more attention among those of us in the superyacht industry is Asia, which also happens to be the subject of murmurings pertaining to the source of the next generation of superyacht crew. In Thailand sits Galileo Maritime Academy, a training school for superyacht crew, as well as commercial crew, recently accredited by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), and one that has heavily invested in its facilities and infrastructure over the past few years.
In fact, its director, Anthony Gould, has stated that approximately 70 per cent of its students come from outside Asia. Many of those, he says, are European, strengthening the argument that the traditionally popular training schools for yacht crew are getting booked up – or, perhaps crew simply want a break from the yachting hot spots, and fancy doing their training in an exotic location.
Speaking with Gould, it seems the school is doing something that crew are begging for. One of its missions: to ensure crew get value for money. “If people from all around the world are going to pay to do their training and get their certificates, they want to be sure of several things. One, that they’re going to be looked after, and two, that they’re going to get high quality training. At the end of the day, they want a job, that’s why they’re coming to us. So we make it our mission to help them achieve that,” explains Gould. In fact, despite offering no general recruitment services, the team do their very best to get the crewmembers who come through their doors a job at the end of it all. This past year has even seen a 90 per cent employment rate of its students. “We look through their CVs and help develop the, and we have nearly 200 superyachts who are very happy to hear from us when it comes to hiring opportunities.”
What’s particularly interesting is that classroom training here takes on another form. They actually use superyachts (although some of the ‘practise’ yachts fall just under that 30m mark). Superyachts are used for drills, for service practise, for as much as possible, so suddenly the next step of applying classroom-learned skills on board is already taken care of.
The one thing I get from Gould is the pride he has in these facilities. He has invested in the area, in the knowledge that the yachting industry will recognise its value – the charter updates in Thailand being just one example – and he’s hoping crew will do the same, in a region he calls “a huge marine playground”.