In response to the skills shortage in seafaring, the MUA initiated the formation of METL - Maritime Employees Training Limited.
The objectives of METL are to provide training and facilities directly related to the provision of training to the maritime industry.
From its inception, METL has evolved to become a company limited by guarantee, governed by a bipartite board consisting of both union and employer representatives.
"This structure is vital to the effective functioning of our organisation," says Adrian Denyer, CEO of METL. "At METL, we need to ensure that our activities serve the interests of both employers and employees and therefore the industry as a whole. Our unique board structure allows this."
The Chairman of the METL Board of Directors, MUA National Secretary and ITF President, Paddy Crumlin, has described METL as being "the only body in the maritime industry dedicated to improving training from the point of view of both employers and workers."
As a not-for-profit entity, all industry and potential government investment in METL goes directly to support new entrants or the up-skilling of the current workforce. Through a combination of industry, government and international investment and prudent financial management, METL expects to return over a million dollars annually in targeted training initiatives for both new and existing maritime employees.
METL is a "link" for all parties involved in training within the industry; employers, employees, trainees, Registered Training Organisations (RTO's), industry bodies and regulators. METL works with the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system and employers, as well as the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to ensure that qualifications meet the required national and industry standards.
Training for new entrants as well as additional training and formal recognition of worker's current skills will be available to provide nationally recognised qualifications, keeping the skill-base within the industry up-to-date and opening up career opportunities.
"METL provides this industry with an opportunity to once and for all speak for everyone when it comes to training matters," says Andy Jacob, COO of PTTEP Australasia and Director of METL.
Currently, METL is researching the extent of the skills shortage in order to target and prioritise where additional training will be provided. While the initial focus is the training of Ratings to supply an expected increase in demand for skilled labour in the offshore sector, it is envisioned that METL's scope will expand to include other occupations, including Stevedores.
"We have a responsibility to make a difference here," said Paddy Crumlin, "by providing real careers for Australian workers, by building on our skill-base and ensuring that Australia continues to set the benchmark for the training of seafarers worldwide."
More information is available on METL's website