For the batches of cadets that enroll into the Tripartite Maritime Training Award (TMTA) programmes, SMOU and WMI will take the opportunity to engage them through a fireside chat session to find out about their reasons for choosing the seafaring career, and how they came to know of the programmes. At these sessions, cadets share about their background, motivations, struggles and goals while gleaning from the wisdom of veterans that have decades of experience in the seafaring career.
Having safe management measures in place during this period of the pandemic, the fireside chat this round looked a bit different for the cadets of Tripartite Nautical Training Award (TNTA) cohort 18 and Tripartite Engineering Training Award (TETA) cohort 5. The cadets connected with SMOU and WMI officials through a virtual platform which brought a different dynamic to the session.
During the session, SMOU General Secretary Mary Liew addressed cadets, assuring them that even the journey may be tough especially during this period, SMOU and WMI are committed to assist and address their concerns along the way.
Many of the cadets admitted that their motivation for joining the programme was the inspiration of family members and relatives who were also seafarers. Some had fathers and relatives who worked on board ships, while others knew cadets currently in the other TMTA cohorts. Still others expressed their love for the sea, and many saw the prospects of the seafaring career and are in it for the job opportunities and attractive salary that the industry holds.
Knowing full well the cost of the seafaring path as an ex-seafarer, Emeritus General Secretary Thomas Tay asked cadets, “Is the seafaring career really for you?” Cadets assured that they had considered the sacrifices of this journey, and have the support of their family members. Giving a word of advice, Brother Thomas encouraged everyone to persevere and attain the highest certification in their seafaring track – Ship Master and Chief Engineer.
Mr Lim Tau Kok, advisor to WMI, spoke as an ex-seafarer on his experience working on board ships as a chief engineer. He emphasised the importance of interaction with others on ships to build communication skills in the workplace. Casting their eyes to the future, he reassured cadets that even though life on board the ships will require hard work, the opportunities that await them ashore will be endless.
The session closed with Sister Mary and Brother Thomas wishing the cadets well and hoping that they will be able to make their acquaintance in person with the cadets in the near future. The dialogue carried many fulfilling exchanges between officials and cadets where everyone got to learn more about one another.