UK-based digital learning specialist Mintra is more than doubling the size of its maritime course library from 107 to 238 titles, all of which can be made available onboard a vessel and from their cloud-based learning management system, Trainingportal.
The library expansion is part of a concerted drive by Mintra into the maritime space – a move which this year has already seen the acquisition of maritime specialists Safebridge and overall revenue from the sector overtake income from energy for the first time. This is on the back of a 24% increase in sales of content to shipping customers in 2020.
Contracts have already been signed with two major new clients ahead of the library expansion being completed, and several existing clients have committed to increase their eLearning spend on the additional titles.
Gareth Gilbert, chief operating officer of Mintra, said the company’s track record in working with digitally mature, safety-critical industries ensured it could support and guide the maritime community as it transitioned towards digitalisation. “The industry has played a pivotal role in the expansion of our maritime eLearning course library from the outset, demonstrating our commitment to be a genuine and trusted partner of the sector,” Gilbert said.
“We worked with existing and prospective clients to examine training matrices and identify courses essential to the competency needs of seafarers and consulted with several highly respected subject matter experts to understand how we could maximise the benefits of our library expansion project. The addition of over 100 new technical and compliance courses, all of which have been developed in-house by Mintra supported by the knowledge and expertise of our team of SMEs, has created a holistic eLearning library fit for the needs of today’s seafarers. We now offer a viable, low carbon and cost-efficient alternative as a supplier of a complete digital learning solution. More than that, however, we have the ability to revolutionise how that training is delivered with our cloud-based learning and competency management system, Trainingportal. This ends the antiquated process – one that has been a standard approach for over three decades – of physically distributing courses and software via laptops and USB sticks. Trainingportal can be accessed from any internet-enabled device, with new or additional content being made available to learners automatically. Specifically designed for vessels moving in and out of connectivity, the platform is also available as an offline solution, meaning crews can access and undertake eLearning courses at any time, even when there is no internet available.”
The new courses represent 66 hours of additional maritime learning content and cover a wide range of safety, regulatory, operational and technical subjects, broken down into rank and job role from deck officers to galley staff. There are also a number of soft skills courses – abilities which are growing in demand given smaller crews and increased automation.
The creation of the learning content is a partnership between a carefully selected team of industry SMEs and Mintra’s instructional designers. The SMEs, all with decades of hands-on industry experience from marine electrical engineers to deck officers, create the course content and script in reference to both the latest industry standards and their extensive knowledge. The instructional designers bring the content to life in a way that best supports the learning outcomes and knowledge retention. Videos and animation are used, and the courses are designed to be interactive to keep the learner engaged with the process.
A number of courses in the library have been STCW accredited by the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA), and several are in the process of being accredited by DNV. As a company, Mintra is a DNV Approved Maritime Training Provider, has management systems approved by Bureau Veritas and is accredited by organisations including ECITB, OPITO, CPD and RoSPA.
Gilbert said, “The marine environment can be a dangerous place to work, and Mintra’s role is to support clients in helping to keep their people safe while at work. While we’ve seen a recent reduction in the number of ships lost, incidents are rising. According to statistics in the Safety & Shipping Review 2020, there were 2,815 incidents across the maritime sector in 2019 – an increase of 5% on the previous year. Keeping people safe, helping them grow in competency, is something that operators need to be mindful of daily, but they now have another challenge in the drive towards digitalisation. This is one of six policy actions the industry has been told to prepare for in a post-pandemic world. The recommendations from UNCTAD in its Maritime Transport Review 2020 calls on the industry to promote greater digital uptake by investing in technology and adopting solutions that enable enhanced efficiencies, reduce environmental impact and strengthen cybersecurity. Maritime and energy have always represented Mintra’s core markets and we are in an excellent position to take the knowledge we have gained in energy – an industry born in the technological age – and use it for the benefit of our maritime clients.”