Three Australian trainee tug masters have completed their training in the UK tapping into the expertise of colleagues serving similar contracts half a world apart.

Australian Serco tug masters are being trained by their UK colleagues (Serco)

Australian Serco tug masters are being trained by their UK colleagues (Serco)

Serco’s Australian Fleet Marine Services Contract involves providing towage services to the Australian Navy at Perth, Darwin and Sydney mirroring its UK operation where similar services are provided at naval bases across the country. With each facing the same operational challenges providing high quality support for their naval customers, sharing of experiences in the form of training makes obvious sense.

With the aid of their UK colleagues, Australian trainees Alicia Pollock, Ben Naismith and Blake Thompson have successfully completed their five-week long training at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Portsmouth and presented with their certificates by Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Nick Hine CB.

Serco’s UK-based team has a well-developed structured training and competency checking programme along with a pool of tug training masters and following a request from their Australian colleagues, training masters Rob Hinton and Paul Robson travelled to Australia to assist the Australian team’s long-term aim of becoming self-sufficient with their training. This will enable them to provide their own in-house training masters who can conduct annual competency checks and deliver a nationally approved training package.

The UK and Australian teams devised a structure and framework to meet requirements of the Australian Skills Quality Authority, the approval body for training programmes such as this. The two UK tug masters completed competency checks for existing ASD tug masters in Perth and Darwin with similar checks plus conventional twin-screw training for the operation in Sydney.

Rob Hales, Serco’s maritime services contract director, said: “The initial work we have done together with our Australian colleagues has been very successful. It has demonstrated the strength that Serco can bring through its international customer base and global reach. 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. The 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.”

By Peter Barker