By Ligaya Caban

Under-privileged students will have an opportunity for a rewarding career with the inauguration of the AB Engine Program by the Intl Maritime Employer’s Council in partnership with the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Phil.

Named IMEC-AMOSUP AB Engine Program, it was launched last November 9th at the Don Bosco Youth Center in C.P. Garcia street, Barrio Magsaysay, Tondo, Manila, graced by ITF Sec-Gen Stephen Cotton, AMOSUP Pres. Conrado Oca and Adam Lewis, IMEC Head of Training and Operations with shipping executives.

The first batch is composed of 40 students given free tuition fees, board and lodging and competency-based education for 10 months, with an additional four-month on-shore, on-the-job-training (OJT) with one month stay at the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) to process documents (passport, seaman book and the like).

Dan Aldrich Tolentino, Training Manager-IMEC Maritime Education Programs, says the program may take 18 months but guarantees a job from a partner company already waiting.

Kimberly Karlshoej, head of ITF Seafarers’ Trust, recalls it comes from the Propeller Club originating some ten years back where she was involved on the “fantastic project.”

Of the more than 200 shipping company-members of IMEC, nine are direct patrons of the program in Don Bosco, namely: Anglo-Eastern Crew Management Phils, Bergebulk Maritime, Bridge Crew Management, TMA Ship Singapore, Epsilon Hellas, Marlow Navigation Phils,

Dohle Seafront Crewing Manila, Thome Shipmanagement, Western Shipping Southeast Asia.

Natalie Shaw, Director Employment Affairs, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), says, “It’s special and very wonderful. I hope to be back for the graduation.”

Raoul Ramos, Dohle Seafront Crewing Manila Recruitment and Training Manager, hopes for best results as “there is a shortage of fitters” and early graduates of the program are highly skilled and knowledgeable.

The Western Shipping Fleet Personnel Manager is impressed on the over-all package and states, “They are bringing in a lot of efficiency and at the same time they are getting their benefits as well. I think it works mutually for both.”