There’s always one topic that gets crew ranting. This time last year, I’d say it was recruitment companies (we put one article on about crewmembers’ bad recruitment experiences and it’s still our most read story). But there has been a shift and it’s now the training providers who are bearing the brunt of crewmember’s (some justifiable, some less so) frustrations.

For some time the training providers have been waving the flag for better-trained crew. This, of course, means more courses for crew, which in turn means more money for the training schools. For those crewmembers who need this extra training – and there are some that certainly do – this is not a bad thing. The training schools have overheads and many are investing in improving their facilities and, if you go to the right provider, you will get some good training that is valuable to your career.

But no matter what the training schools say or, as a matter of fact, what anyone says, all I’ve been hearing from crew is that training providers are not in the business of improving crew, but are simply in business – in their own business of making money.

This puts the industry in a very difficult position when it comes to the value of training. Anyone who’s read my columns or spoken to me at any remotely crew-focused event will know I’m a big advocate of the Professional Yachting Association’s (PYA) GUEST programme for interior crew. Having spent a day getting a taster session of the courses on offer as part of the programme, my eyes were opened up to just how much interior crew could learn, and I’ll be flying the GUEST flag for a long time. Moving from inside to on deck, I’ve received so many complaints about the lack of basic seamanship skills, hence the new and mandatory Efficient Deck Hand (EDH) course.

At the moment, I’m struggling to see this relationship of trust between training providers and crew.

The courses we are seeing have been established as a response to industry feedback, yet crew are not advocating them due to their issues with those offering these courses. I don’t think it’s crew disagree that, as the service industry, we should always try to be better, but they seem to believe that there are issues with those offering this training that need to be resolved before they cry for, and offer, even more.

I’m a huge advocate of raising the bar of our crew (for those where the bar needs to be raised – there are lots of crew who I think have got it spot on) but the same week I’ve been voicing to this to the industry I’ve also heard horror stories of crewmembers’ experiences at more than one of the industry’s big-name training schools.

Crew must trust that those offering this training are doing it well and for the right reasons. At the moment, I’m struggling to see this relationship of trust between training providers and crew.

So where does this leave us? For any hope of progress, we need to start an honest dialogue between training providers and crew, and The Crew Report will be the conduit. Email me your thoughts so we can get this discussion going:

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