Since 2014, the Young SMOU (YSMOU) has been organising Fireside Chats to engage our young members as well as for individual Tripartite Maritime Training Award (TMTA) cohorts. The Fireside Chat serves the purpose of getting to know each other better, share their aspiration on why they choose this career path, to motivate and encourage them as there will be many challenges ahead in their journey to become captains and chief engineers.
On 26 June, a Fireside Chat was organised for the TMTA cadets and officers, from various cohorts and companies via an online video conferencing platform. Prior to the Fireside Chat, an online survey was conducted to gather topics of discussion from the participants. Topics such as how COVID-19 has impacted their lives as a seafarer, the top 3 challenges they faced when working on-board, and feedbacks concerning crew change, training opportunities and career progression were discussed during the Fireside Chat. YSMOU also invited its Committee Alumni, Captain Benson Yao, to share about his experiences at sea and how he managed his career transition from sea to shore.
It was indeed a rewarding session where valuable feedback and advice were exchanged amongst the cadets, officers, and the officials from SMOU and Wavelink Maritime Institute. Highlighting the concerns of the seafarers, SMOU General Secretary Sister Mary Liew and Emeritus General Secretary Brother Thomas Tay shared that: “Due to the many challenges brought about by COVID-19, we seek the patience and understanding our seafarers in these unprecedented times. SMOU will continue to work closely with its Tripartite Partners, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, companies and the Tripartite Singapore Crew Change Workgroup to meet seafarers’ needs. We are here for you!”