Globe Maritime Training Center: GEARED FOR NEW NORMAL
Globe Maritime Training Center (GMTC) has launched its Online Training for In-House Courses, a quick and effective response to changes triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The computer-based training (CBT) or distance learning is GMTC's answer to the industry's call for unhampered deployment of Filipino seafarers in the international shipping amidst major challenges.
Getting quality training within the safety and comforts of your home is now possible through GMTC online classes, ensuring the same training caliber you get during face-to-face sessions. You will receive your Certificate of Completion without fuss, delivered at your door.
GMTC President Gilbert Milana with his IT team conceptualized and made operational the offering using advanced zoom video conferencing with classroom set-up, instructors using white board and leading active discussions.
These experts are all from the state Polytechnic University (PUP) where Milana earned his degree in BS Mechanical Engineering.
The positive and high response was a bit surprising but a good indication our seamen are seeking self-improvement, not wasting time while idle, stranded or quarantined.
Milana is a seafarer himself, and feels what is best for fellow mariners. The online format is a lot cheaper than the face-to-face norm and gives more time to be with their family.
Helping is the main motivation for Milana; happy he could help more now that costs to teach are lesser than before. Proof of this, he was pilloried by competitors for the much lower costs of his course offerings.
But, he will continue to reduce costs with better results because his intent is to help, not to exploit hapless mariners.
The cost reduction is feasible as Opex (operational expense) is smaller with less staff, less rentals on offices and classrooms. But, it also led to unemployment for some GMTC staff.
Milana sees the economical cost as a realization of his advocacy that seafarers’ income must go to their families, not on training fees. GMTC is open for teaming with other training centers which also believe in reasonable costs for seafarers.
GMTC is among the first training centers which submitted Post-Enhanced Community Quarantine Operation Plan in compliance to MARINA Advisory 2020-36 to be able to conduct again official MARINA STCW courses.
The shift by the Government to the K-12 curriculum resulted to less enrolees, no business and atrophy, forcing many training centers to close. For those which survived, they now have to face the global dislocation caused by the deadly virus.
Milana just won’t give up. He would seek a good mix of protocols to the MARINA circulars and comply with DOLE and DOH memoranda like limited trainees, more space, disinfectants, and other precautions even if these may cost more to do.
GMTC incorporated MARINA guidelines in its Quality Standard System to observe dutifully as the new normal including general requirements on facilities, enrolment, conduct of training and management responsibilities.
The New Normal.
GMTC strictly adheres even on the basics: staff, trainees, visitors must all pass thermal scanning, footbath before entry. The clinic staff is provided with medical-grade PPEs, face masks, goggles/face shields, sterile gloves in an isolation area (with adequate medical supply for any emergency).
To help in any tracking, all must accomplish the Health Symptoms Questionnaire (HSQ) with: names, contact numbers, address, persons to notify, travel history within the last six months, a certification of completed quarantine or tested as COVID-19 free when returning from areas documented as high risk.
Within GMTC premises, sanitizers are handy, backed by signage promoting hand-washing, physical distancing, disposal of tissues and wastes, good nutrition to boost the immune system. Soap and water are available, as washrooms and toilets are kept impeccably clean.
Classrooms must, at least, be 6m x 7m for MC 2013-01 for maximum 12 trainees, 16 if 56 square meters (8m x 7m) for proper social distancing.
The same precautions are undertaken at the GMTC-Valenzuela as site for the practical:
- The swimming pool is regularly disinfected.
- Shuttle vehicle travel at half its capacity for social distancing and cough etiquette.
- Same protocols are insisted like the HSQ, thermal scans, disinfection before entry, etc.
- Face masks mandatory for all at all times, except when swimming.
Only by appointment, and contactless payments. Trainees’ personal belonging admitted into GMTC premises is only one small bag, no companion allowed.
Training and Practical Assessment.
Responsibilities of trainees and instructors for the issuance of STCW Certificates:
- Face shields, not facemasks, shall be worn by the instructor, more so when with trainees of impaired hearing. Facemasks are worn during assessment.
- Instructors/Assessors shall use their own personal lavalier/lapel microphone. GMTC shall provide sanitized megaphones.
- Limit role playing activities; reduce to 4 members in any activity.
- Man:Machine ratio: 1:1 for Simulator workstation/Min Bridge and Tabletop Computer; 1:4 for Full Mission Simulator.
Prolonged face-to-face interaction is discouraged; online systems are highly encouraged like Videoconferencing, more so for prolonged discussions.
GMTC may implement alternative work arrangements such as working-hour shifts or work from home (WFH) on a rotation basis. Detail the deliverables but no diminution in wages/ benefits.
- Where feasible, GMTC shuttle services and/or decent accommodation on near-site location should be provided to lessen travel and people movement.
- WFH shall be assigned to vulnerable groups (60 years old, those with co-morbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer, or with immune-compromised health.
- GMTC shall put up a COVID-19 hotline for employees to report if symptomatic; MITs may test employees with kits procured by GMTC.
- GMTC premises shall be decontaminated before and after training sessions.
By September of the 2020, GMTC celebrates its 8th Anniversary, of which Chief Engr. Milana prays to be years of being able to help, to enlighten, and continue to help.