Developing a Training Plan for Legal Compliance and Best Practice

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Before creating your training program, it is important for you as the trainer to do your homework and research your yachts / company’s situation thoroughly. Most employers understand that good crew and employee training is essential for an organisation and yachts success. Training topics may include general skills such as safety, technical skills, security and customer service, as well as programs designed to prevent lawsuits, audits, and fines, such as ISM training, safety training, and security training.

Crew training was once considered an optional benefit, an “extra” that only the most forward-looking employers provided to the most promising crew. Even now, when the economy turns downward, crew training is often the first to go, viewed not as an investment but as an expense to be disposed of in tough times. Today, more and more captains and owners understand that, far from being a frill, good crew training is necessary to a yachts success.

In addition to meeting legal requirements, owners, captains and employers know that an intelligent, well-trained crew is central to a yachts productivity and well-being. Employers with high employee turnover tend to train less and spend less on training than other yachts. While it is unclear which comes first, the probable inference is that training is linked to long-term employment and is an important factor in successful performance, productivity, and morale.

“Some degree of the pressures on budgets may mean that some yachts have reduced money for training,” said Richard Skinner, Director at Allmode limited. “That wouldn’t surprise me. Yachts should invest in continuing professional development and any yacht owner, manager and captain should have that as part of their core offer for training and development of crew / staff. The issue that has come out is whether it’s sufficient.”

Yachts can spend thousands of dollars a year on training, unfortunately, a lot of that training is simply a wasted effort. Look at the below set of principles or rules for training crew and employees.


1. Teach Skills Not Traits
Rather than trying to change the personality of the individual, focus on training skills that can be taught and learned.
For example, suppose you’re responsible for a stewardess whose duties entail guests interaction, If she is naturally introverted (a trait) don’t try to convince her to be more extroverted (a trait) in order to help you sell. Instead, train her how to listen actively (a skill) and how to use terminology customers will understand (a skill).

2. Teach the Appropriate Skill
Only teach crew skills that you’re certain will produce tangible results, within the context of that crew members job role.

3. Reinforce and Support the Skill
Whenever you train a skill, provide multiple opportunities to check on how well that employee is executing that skill and provide coaching as necessary. Learning a new skill entails making it into a habit. Unfortunately, doing so usually involves overcoming existing habits, which is inherently difficult. Coaching allows you gradually reinforce the skill and overcome the habits it replaces.

4. Implement Skill-based Metrics
There are no truer words in business than “What gets measured gets done.” If you really want employees to integrate a skill into their day-to-day performance, you must, must, must measure the results of the application of that skill.
For example, if you’re providing training on some aspect of your sales process, you should measure the conversion rate at that stage of the sales process, rather than just measuring the total revenue that’s booked at the end of the quarter.

5. Consistently Measure Progress
If you do all of the above, you should be able to watch the metrics improve as the new skill becomes second nature. If you don’t get the expected improvement, there’s something wrong. Either you’ve been training the wrong skill or not providing enough reinforcement and coaching.

“There must be mechanisms for effective budget monitoring and allocation that still allow yacht captains to [sign-off training budgets],” said Declan O’Sullivan, MD Pelagos Yachts. “The implication [of the survey results] is that it could be a fairly low level of [yachts budget] expenditure that is going to managers or owners.”

Conventional ‘training’ is required to cover essential work-related skills, techniques and knowledge, and much is done and deals with taking a positive progressive approach to traditional ‘training’ on-board.

Importantly however, the most effective way to develop people is quite different from conventional skills training, which let’s face it many employees regard quite negatively. They’ll do it of course, but they won’t enjoy it much because it’s about work, not about themselves as people. The most effective way to develop people is instead to enable learning and personal development, with all that this implies.

“So, as soon as you’ve covered the basic work-related skills training that is much described in your ISM / Mini ISM – focus on enabling learning and development for people as individuals – which extends the range of development way outside traditional crew skills and knowledge, and creates far more secure, safe, exciting, liberating, motivational opportunities – for staff and for crew.” said James Kellett, Operations director Allmode Limited.

Tips for assessing Yacht training effectiveness

Look at and understand the broad yacht context and business environment: the type, size, scale, spread, geography, logistics, etc., of the yachts business or organisation. This includes where and when people work (which influences how and when training can be delivered). Look also at the skills requirements for the people and crew in the business or aboard in general terms as would influence training significance and dependence – factors which suggest high dependence on training are things like: fast-changing itinerary’s , significant customer service activities, new and growing yacht businesses, strong health and safety implications ( ISM ). Note that all yachts and businesses have a high dependence on training, but in certain businesses training need is higher than others – change (in the business or the market) is the key factor which drives training need.

Assess and analyse how training and development is organised and the way that training is prioritised. Think about improvements to training organisation and planning that would benefit the yachts or organisation.

Review the yacht or business strategy/positioning/mission/plans (and HR / Crew strategy if any exists) as these statements will help you to establish the central the yacht business aims. Training should all be traceable back to these business aims, however often it isn’t – instead it’s often arbitrary and isolated.

Assess how the training relates to the yacht / business aims, and how the effectiveness of the training in moving the yacht / business towards these aims is measured. Often training isn’t measured at all – it needs to be.

Look at the details and overview of what training is planned for the people in the business or aboard. The training should have this information. There should be a clear written training plan, including training aims, methods, relevance and outputs connected to the wider aims of the yachts business.

For all your training needs speak to Allmode today:
• Security
• Safety
• Mandatory

Train beyond compliance and start today by contacting our training team:

Author: James Kellett, Operations Director, Allmode Global Risk Management.

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