As the first to arrive at DNV approval for a complete nautical and engine training programme, Kongsberg Maritime's training department shows its dedication to qualitative course delivery.
Since June 2008, Kongsberg Maritime and DNV Seaskills™ have been working together to develop course approvals on Kongsberg Maritime's K-Chief 700 and K-Bridge product courses. In January this year, the course certificate was finally complete. Project Manager in Kongsberg Maritime, Hallfrid Os-Andersen is confident that the approvals will be an advantage for future course participants adding an extra mark of quality to KM's training offer.
"When we started this process, the two companies had very different views, something which forced us to look through our own course material and structure", she says. "Previous evaluation and more than 20 years experience within this business tells us that we are already delivering high quality training. Building on this experience in cooperation with DNV is a sign of seriousness from our side resulting in a more flexible training offer".
DNV SeaSkill™ is a department within Det Norske Veritas assisting shipping companies, manufacturers and training providers to assure that competence is properly addressed, built and retained. In other words; they do not perform the training themselves, but put their highly esteemed stamp of approval on maritime training providers' courses. Despite their long history of approving courses, this particular task was new even to Seaskill™.
"This has been an educational process for both companies and a new way of looking at course presentations from our side", says Project Manager in DNV Seaskills, Thomas Jacobsen. "We have worked hard to find ways to fit the KM courses into our DNV standard, something which has been very useful for further development of our way of verifying courses".
Accreditation increasingly important
Although Kongsberg Maritime will be the first maritime training provider to offer DNV approved product courses, they will probably not be the last. According to Jacobsen, course accreditation is gaining importance and there is an increasing demand for competence based training from employers.
"In our experience, most accidents at sea are caused by human errors. In order to avoid this, we need to ensure that the crew can operate the relevant equipment properly. This is achieved through appropriate training and the ability to prove your skills through certified courses", he comments.
One way of ensuring that participants have gained the relevant knowledge, is by conducting a final assessment at the end of the course. Consequently, this is a central part of the DNV standard for accrediting courses. "Ship owners must find out what their employees need in order to operate the systems and make specific demands to the training suppliers. The final assessment will confirm that they are fit to operate a specific system", says Jacobsen.
The final assessment is only one of the criteria that need to be fulfilled. Strict rules apply in order to obtain the DNV accreditation, such as regulations regarding training environment and class size. All course material also has to be standardised and revised by DNV. In addition their standard includes certain quality requirements for the course instructors, resulting in an increasing focus on teaching skills in Kongsberg Maritime's training department.
"An important part of this process has been taking teaching skills more seriously in our organisation", says Business Manager, training in Kongsberg Maritime, Anne Toril Kasin. "All course instructors must now attend a teaching course in order to learn how to convey their knowledge in an understandable manner".
A la carte training
A key to the DNV approval is a module based course structure. Consequently, course participants can take part in training that is tailor made for their needs. "We have a lot of different training modules in Kongsberg Maritime," says Hallfrid Os-Andersen. "Many clients want 20-25% of the same core modules and the rest of the course is adapted to their specific need. Consequently, we can now offer a pool of modules that the instructor can choose from to put together a complete training package, while participants previously had to follow a certain programme for a full week."
Training manager Kasin, agrees that tailor made courses are the future and wishes to provide "The Full Picture" also within training. "Tailor made courses are right in the core of Kongsberg Maritime's spirit," she says. "We always have a wish to adjust to the client's needs, and this is no different for the training department."
Initially a response to a customer request for one specific product area, the plan is to extend course accreditation to Kongsberg Maritime's entire training offer. The next courses in line for approval are K-Pos dynamic positioning system) and K-Chief 500 monitoring and control system. "Accrediting courses is not something we had to do, but something we chose to do. Having an experienced external party correcting us is important and gives us a reassurance that what we are doing is actually good. DNV Seaskill™ has a good standard for accreditation and our cooperation with them has been very useful", says Kasin.
With extensive and versatile experience within course accreditation and a good combination of highly qualified staff consisting of both teachers and maritime professionals, DNV Seaskill™ is well equipped for the task at hand. "We look forward to continue our good cooperation with Kongsberg Maritime, and we are very proud to have an international company as our client within this field. Together we have rendered a high quality training product," concludes Jacobsen.
Requirements for DNV approval
- Scope – description of the training course
- Competence gap to close – reasons why the training activity is needed
- Learning objectives – a statement explaining the learning objective(s) of the course
- Entry standards – a list of prerequisites for learners to attend the course
- Learner conditions – a description of personal, professional and practical factors learners are expected to bring into the training situation
- Class limitations – state the maximum class size for classroom lessons and state the learner/trainer ratio
- Trainers/course developers – the competence requirements for the trainers shall be given as well as a list of trainers including a description of their background, qualifications and/or performance record
- Assessors – the competence record for the assessors shall be given as well as a list of assessors with a description of their experience, background ad qualifications
- Teaching facilities – the address and a description of the crucial characteristics of the training location must be given as well as a description of the equipment that will be used during the training sessions
- Teaching aids – copies of all visual aids and discussions of how audio-visual aids will be used as well as copies of all learner handouts, homework assignments, workbooks and a bibliography of the learner textbooks used
- Teaching methods – the documentation must show how the different teaching methods such as lectures, buzz groups, group discussions etc. are sued to obtain variation.