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On Course: Skills beyond certifications enhance career opportunities

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On Course: by Clive McCartney

Deadline time – how did I find myself in this position?  I am not a journalist, not a writer of any kind. I have qualifications in engineering science, marine engineering and, a long time ago, Chief Engineer tickets in steam, diesel, gas turbine and diesel electric propulsion, but nothing in my certificate list suggests that I might find myself with the expectation to punch out 700-900 words for such an august organ as The Triton once per month.

Truth is, I’m not certified in yacht management either, nor in refit planning, yacht budgeting, crew administration or any of those other good things that consume my days and have done for the past 13-plus years. Point is, I may not be certified in those things, but I am qualified. Qualified by experience and by training.

When I first started in yacht management, I had some excellent mentors inside the company where I worked. They coached me and provided opportunities for training, building on my certificated history and allowing me to develop into a productive member of the team.

Some of those training opportunities were a long way from what one might expect, but those diverse skills build over time. Indeed, they build upon one another until the sum of the parts becomes greater (making for a more valuable employee) than just the certified engineer working in yacht management. And this – this is how I find myself writing this series of articles about keeping “Your Career On Course.”

What is your qualification? Master 3000 GRT, Y3 Engineer, Yachtmaster Offshore? All good certificates to hold and will satisfy the written safe manning requirements for your yacht. But what else do you bring to the table? Are you PADI Divemaster, do you have silver service training, power boat instructor?

On the compliance side, we know that in many cases, one engineer position may be “dual role” with other positions, so a deckhand with both Yacht Rating Certificate and AEC is fairly common to see and may even be a requirement for some boats to maintain their compliance with the crew living space available.

Outside of compliance, a candidate with broad knowledge and training may well get their CV in front of more hiring captains. An entry level deckhand or stewardess with mixology training is better than just the vanilla version. A chef who has put themselves through specific French cuisine training will attract certain clients.
The list is endless – personal training, wine, accounting, project management, massage, digital media, IT. Some qualifications may be more directly related to the yacht operation than others, but anything that shows the candidate’s breadth is a good sign for the wise hiring manager.

A silver service skill for the interior crew, or a course for the engineers in vibration analysis for machinery health monitoring – neither is a “certificate” required by the flag state, but both are certainly skills that will help the captain to deliver the owner’s expectations.

These extensions to your professional certification are not always easy to attain or to maintain, but paying attention to them, building on them and, where possible, using them will surely help to keep “Your Career On Course.”

Clive McCartney is vice president of maritime operations and business development at Bluewater Management & Crew Training USA in Fort Lauderdale. Comments are welcome below.

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One thought on “On Course: Skills beyond certifications enhance career opportunities

  1. Robert Hommel

    Are you seeking additional instructures? I have a number of skills and experiences that may be of interest to you. I live in Fort Lauderdale but spend some summer time in Michigan.

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