Three Serco trainees from Australia have successfully completed tugmaster training at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Portsmouth with the help of Serco colleagues in the UK.
CAPTION: Australian tugmaster trainee Alicia Pollock at the helm of a Portsmouth, UK, tug, with HMS Queen Elizabeth inward bound. Photo by Rob Hinton @TugmasterRob
Alicia Pollock, Ben Naismith and Blake Thompson have all spent five weeks with Serco’s Maritime Services team in Portsmouth and Devonport in the UK as part of their training.
Alicia and Ben were presented with their tugmaster certificates by Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Nick Hine.
The graduation marks the culmination of work the UK Serco team has been doing with their opposite numbers from Serco’s Australian Fleet Marine Services Contract (FMSC) to assist with their tugmaster training programme.
Serco’s UK team provides support services to the Royal Navy at naval bases across the UK and has a well-developed structured training and competency checking programme, plus a pool of Tug Training Masters.
The Australian team provide very similar services to the Royal Australian Navy and requested assistance from the UK team to help deliver a tug-training package at three of the RAN’s bases in Perth, Darwin and Sydney.
The two Serco contracts are half a world away from each other, but both face the same operational challenges and need for high-quality support from their naval customers.
Work started in October 2018 when Rob Hinton and Paul Robson, two training masters from the UK, visited Australia to assist their Australian colleagues to achieve their long-term aim to become self-sufficient with their training.
This will enable them to provide their own competent in-house training masters who can conduct annual competency checks and deliver a nationally approved training package.
Working together, the UK and Australian teams devised a structure and framework to meet the requirement of the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the approval body for training programmes such as this.
Tugmasters Rob and Paul completed competency checks for existing azimuth stern-drive tugmasters in Perth and Darwin, and competency checks plus conventional twin-screw training in Sydney.
Commenting on the teamwork, Rob Hales, Serco’s Maritime Services contract director said the initial work together with their Australian colleagues had been very successful.
“It has demonstrated the strength that Serco can bring through its international customer base and global reach,” Mr Hales said.
“This has been a great opportunity to cross-pollenate ideas and training across the world, and these achievements have laid good foundations for future training and further co-operation between the two teams to share our skills and knowledge and enhance our support for our naval customers.
Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy are similarly strengthening their existing ties and it is important that the Serco team is also sharing our expertise across the globe.”