The Maritime Employees Training Ltd. concept was jointly developed by the Maritime Union of Australia and industry employers as a response to a skill shortage of seafarers. The company was registered as a not-for-profit entity in 2010 and a Board of Directors established.
On 16th May, 2010, the inaugural CEO, Adrian Denyer was appointed and tasked with establishing the business and developing the business plan. Simon Earle joined METL in August as Operations Manager and Kathie Constantin was recruited as Office Manager in September.
After extensive research, planning and networking with industry, operations commenced, with METL’s first three Trainees employed and enrolled at college in February 2011. In March 2011, an additional eight trainees were employed under Group Training arrangements with CSL Australia. CSL was the first shipping company to engage METL trainees and remain key to METL’s success and the development of trained seafarers.
METL entered a partnership with Hunter TAFE to deliver METL’s first exclusive course for 12 trainees in May 2011 and in July, through a partnership with Challenger TAFE and Australian Fisheries Academy, another METL exclusive course was delivered in South Australia. METL was now employing 50 trainees.
At the end of 2011, the offshore sector experienced an acute shortage of Integrated Ratings, which was predicted by METL, and trainees who had attained steering and Watchkeeping endorsements were suitably qualified and experienced to help meet the demand.
During its first year of operation, METL invested over $1.5M in training and became the largest employer of Trainee seafarers in Australia.
In 2012, METL continued to monitor demand for trained seafarers, and to provide training according to forecasted requirements. An innovative project funded by the federal government saw 12 new trainees in Victoria undertake their study in a partnership with METL, the Australian Maritime College and Victoria University; an industry first.
May 2012 was an important month, seeing six of METL’s early TIRs completing training and qualifying as Integrated Ratings, testament to the effective selection, monitoring and facilitation of the traineeship through METL’s Group Training scheme. It also marked the beginning of a formal partnership with Hunterlink Recovery Services as our Employee Assistance Provider, demonstrating our commitment to Trainee welfare. After two years at the helm, Adrian Denyer completed his contract as CEO with Simon Earle moving into the position in June 2012. By this stage, METL had been able to demonstrate successful outcomes through industry partnerships with CSL and their ship management company INCO, the Maritime Union of Australia, the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council, Registered Training Organisations, regulators and funding bodies.
June 2012 also saw METL become a White Ribbon campaign partner and we are fully engaged supporters of White Ribbon today. METL has a strong commitment to increasing female participation in the workforce, and are able to boast employment statistics of 6% female trainees, which is more than double the industry average.
Kevin Hunt was appointed Operations Officer in July 2012 to take over the role of recruiting trainees and facilitating all aspects of the traineeship.
In September 2012, METL entered into a formal partnership with ASP Ship Management, providing additional berths and a range of different vessels to deliver additional training opportunities. V-Ships also came on board with the CSL Melbourne.
At the end of the 2012/2013 financial year, METL had facilitated the training of over 100 seafarers. Thirty-six had completed their traineeship, either with METL or with another employer. METL trainees have gone on to be employed by companies including Go Offshore, OMS, TMS and Teekay, as well securing employment with hosts CSL (through INCO and V-Ships) and ASP. Our Trainees had represented every state and territory in Australia and ranged in age from 18 to 52. Indigenous Trainees had made up 7% of our total intake.
Through the 2013/2014 financial year TT Line was engaged in a limited term arrangement, coming on board as a METL host employer. During this period 13 PIRs were placed aboard the Spirit of Tasmania I & II, serving alongside the TT Line crew and gaining valuable experience outside of what they had previously encountered on the rest of the METL host employer fleet.
In April 2014, Hannan El-Kabbout joined the team, initially as an Administration Officer before moving into the role of Group Training Officer in June to meet the increased workload of a phase where we expect demand for our GTO services to increase. Ruth Kirley came on board in August 2014 to take up the banner of METL Admin Officer. In November 2016, Ruth moved into the role as Admin and Marketing Officer, taking on a greater responsibility for the corporate brand.
In September 2016, General Manager Kathie Constantin left METL after years of dedication. Kathie's significant contributions to the organisation and the maritime industry as a whole will have a lasting impact.
In the space of the last 3 or 4 years, the industry changed dramatically. There are now only a handful of Australian ships on the coast and Offshore and Dredging sector projects are being delayed and scaled back. As unemployment among seafarers is high, METL has reduced our engagement of TIRs significantly. We are training sufficient numbers to meet host requirements and carefully monitoring trends to identify if and when we will need to scale operations up.
METL is writing a new piece for the History book. During the downturn, we have designed and commenced construction on a state-of-the-art training facility at the Australian Marine Complex, in Henderson, WA. This will ensure that the maritime employees in Australia and the broader Pacific region will have access to a range of accredited training courses to further enhance their skills and qualifications. It is expected that the facility, METL’s own Registered Training Organisation (RTO) will be operational mid-2017.
Former Challenger TAFE IR course coordinator Rob Simm was brought on board with METL in November 2015 as RTO Manager for the new training school.
Since commencing operations in 2011, METL has achieved:
METL continues to serve the industry into 2017 and is looking to build on our achievements and develop an expanding suite of needs-based training services.