Island Offshore wanted to offer its seafarers training beyond compliance but poor internet connectivity in the marine environment made online learning problematic. It installed Trainingportal Offline across its fleet of offshore service vessels, allowing seafarers to develop their skills and knowledge beyond the requirements of their training matrix.
In safety-critical industries like energy and maritime, it is essential that operators can demonstrate and verify their compliance with rules and regulations that are designed to prevent harm. Whether it’s maintaining a log of permits issued, recording maintenance activity or conducting risk assessments, there is a multitude of instances where operators must be able to show the steps they have taken to comply.
Ensuring that staff are appropriately trained with the skills and knowledge to perform their roles safely is a key element of compliance - employers must ensure their employees have the certifications appropriate to their roles and the assets on which they work.
While some organisations may view training purely as a means to comply, Island Offshore is able to offer its employees on shore and at sea a holistic approach to learning and development thanks to Mintra’s learning management system, Trainingportal.
The company, which has a managed fleet of highly advanced offshore service vessels operating in often challenging conditions, had been using Trainingportal along with crew management system OCS HR for several years and was happy with the results being achieved.However, when training manager Svein Magne Tenfjord learned about Trainingportal Offline – a solution that enables digital learning even without an internet connection - and plans by Mintra to double its maritime eLearning course library, he could see it had the potential to take training and development to a new level.
He said: “I understood that Trainingportal Offline could be extremely beneficial. Firstly, it addressed the issue of seafarers not being able to get online and secondly, the expanded focus of courses would allow us to provide seafarers with training beyond just the basics or compliance.
“It is no longer just about proving a training matrix. They now have access to a wide range of other courses for their learning and development and not only the titles that appear on the training matrix for their job role.
“We would never have been able to do this without Trainingportal Offline. It is extremely difficult to undertake online learning while on board because of the connection issues, so if we suggested they might want to do additional training beyond compliance, it would not have been well supported.
“Now they are only too happy to take the training on board when they don’t have problems with internet speed or loss of connection. They are enjoying it because the process is now so easy. It has helped them to feel connected to their training.”
Island Offshore has 60 shore-based staff in Norway and Portugal, along with approximately 900 seafarers working on vessels around the globe. The company has been a Mintra customer since 2005 and prior to installing Trainingportal Offline, was already aware of how its solutions make employees feel more engaged.
A user of most modules in the OCS HR suite, Island Offshore has found the self-service elements to be particularly beneficial. Self-service gives employees direct control of many functions assigned to the HR department, such as managing personal information, booking courses and travel expense reports, while sailing supervisors can use it for administrative tasks such as employee evaluations and to monitor the competence and compliance levels of the vessel.
Mr Tenfjord explained: “When we first got the module, we wondered how things would go when we started sharing the data with our employees. We wondered if they would engage with it, and what we have found is that it helps them to feel involved.
“If they see something within one of their activities that doesn’t seem correct, they will raise it with us. They now help us identify errors and solve them, whereas in the past we might never have known about them.
“We experience the same thing with their competencies. They will go into self-service and see the competency certificates that we have registered for them, and they’ll come back to us immediately if they have certificates that we are not aware of or have not included.
“They are particularly fond of the travel expense module. In the days before we started using it, they were sending receipts in envelopes to our offices through the post. That often meant that it took as long as three months to receive payment for a travel expense – especially if it was unclear who had sent in the package to the payroll controller – and understandably seafarers were unhappy about this. Now things couldn’t more different. They can complete and submit their travel expenses while they are travelling and often receive it within days.”
Island Offshore has appreciated the high-level of system training and support provided by Mintra, particularly in relation to OCS HR. The vast array of modules and their application means that it takes time to learn and understand the software, but Mr Tenfjord said the HR team would not be without it.
“I have even had colleagues joke that they will quit if we ever think about using another system because they now know this one so well,” he explained. “It takes effort to learn it and to manage it, but once you understand it, you understand just how beneficial it is in making things run more efficiently.
“We use it for competency management, crew management, payroll management and so on. It is complex, but there is a huge benefit in being able to run all of this from one system. We have built it to be very robust: it has the strength that we need across the whole system, and it is very powerful.”
Jan Ove Kalhagen, Mintra sales team lead for Norway and UK, added: “Island Offshore has been a valued client for over 15 years and what I enjoy most about working with the company is its pioneering approach.
“They are always among the first customers to want to try new solutions and functionality and I admire the fact they are engaged and innovative. When we suggested Trainingportal Offline to deliver our expanded range of courses, they immediately understood the benefits that it could deliver and are now getting the results they wanted.
“They are an excellent example of a client using our full suite of solutions in exactly the way they were intended to be used.”
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