There is an imbalance in crew training, between the current needs of yachting and the historical trends in attitude. These days, we have to motivate junior crew to take some training, while the operational-level crew are champing at the bit to climb the career ladder as quickly as possible, whether they’re ready or not.
To those junior crew who are following in the footsteps of past crew and are happy to dockwalk and find a job with little or no experience, it is an old-school attitude to think that these days you can rock up and rely solely on your winning personality and good looks to get the job. From the point of view of the employer, it is essential that crew come into yachting prepared and well informed for the position they intend to take. Learning from scratch while on the job is no longer an option, with heads of department having such time restrictions. And, let’s face it, the owner is not paying senior crew to teach junior crew the fundamentals of yachting and the basic elements of their chosen department. Of course, there must be on-board training, drills and mentoring, but it is still the responsibility of the individuals to ensure they are qualified to do the job they are paid for from the get-go.
It is an old-school attitude to think that these days you can rock up and rely solely on your winning personality and good looks to get the job.
At operational level, there seems to be a hamster-wheel attitude to training progression, racing from zero to hero without taking time to grow, mature and gain concrete experience. This not only puts pressure and stress on the individuals, but it also dilutes the value of the qualifications awarded. Scraping through is not cool. It seems that crew often only chase the next qualification when one job ends and another is offered, with the provision that they ‘get their ticket in time’. This has much to do with yachts wanting to promote from within, which can only be encouraged, but rushing crew who are not ready or putting pressure on those individuals may not be the right thing to do. I continue to see many crew rush at qualifications like bulls in a china shop, with little or no thought to the building blocks required to reach the necessary prerequisites as well as, more importantly, the required knowledge base to merit the award.
Find the full column in issue 73 of The Crew Report - download here.