News

Marine Institute achieves national first with Transport Canada block certification for marine engineering officers
Thursday, May 30, 2024

The Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University (MI) has achieved a national first: a Transport Canada block certification for 2nd class marine engineering training courses through blended delivery.

John Tucker BCF

The courses, developed for the BC Ferries Officer Development Program, represent the first of their kind in Canada for the professional maritime industry. The approved foundational classes in Thermodynamics, Electrotechnology, Applies Mechanics, Naval Architecture and Technical Drawing were delivered in person by instructors from MI, with the remaining classes delivered via distance learning.

Final evaluations will be administered by MI faculty at a designated BC Ferries facility. This is groundbreaking within the industry and a first across Canada as personnel from Transport Canada are typically responsible for overseeing exam delivery.

The company contracted MI’s School of Maritime Studies to develop and provide customized training opportunities for its marine engineering employees, preparing them to upgrade their marine engineering certification levels. MI is also working with BC Ferries to create programming for fleet operations employees.

MI has long offered preparatory courses for various Transport Canada exams. Traditionally, these courses have been offered with in-person delivery only. With this new certification, students can stay at home, work and study remotely to take the necessary courses to prepare for their exams.

BCF Class

“The success of our collaboration with BC Ferries and the Transport Canada block certification of these marine engineering courses is a major accomplishment,” said Capt. Kristopher Drodge, head of the School of Maritime Studies.

“Seafarers are in high demand, and it is important for every employee to have the opportunity to grow and obtain further certification. This new block program and how it is delivered opens the opportunity for employers to further invest in employee education and career advancements, and is a progressive approach to employee recruitment, retention and promotion.”

While attending classes, BC Ferries students are detached from their duties aboard their assigned vessels to complete the theoretical portion of the course within the term period. The multi-term program is a two-year path to completion and each class has a maximum of six students.

The training opportunity was exclusively advertised internally to members of BC Ferries fleet. BC Ferries is the largest marine employer in Canada, boasting an impressive team of over 5,000 employees across 37 vessels, with over 500 in marine engineering positions.

With an increasing demand for recruitment in the marine sector, the Marine Institute hopes to work with other maritime transportation companies to create customized block training courses for the development of their crews as they progress their careers.