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21 Aug 2019
6 mins
Celebrating 10 Years of TNTA

“This will not be possible without the collective funding support and training berths provided to our cadets by the tripartite partners to achieve the common goal of building a strong Singaporean core in the maritime industry,” said Mr Alvin Cheong, Executive Secretary of SMOU, who paid tribute to all in his opening address.

The genesis of the TNTA was recounted by Guest of Honour, Minister of Education Ong Ye Kung in his speech. Mr Ong, who served as former NTUC Deputy Secretary-General, observed that the maritime sector was thriving, and there were good, professional jobs but very few Singaporeans were holding these jobs. Through this observation, it has set things in motion. Working with SMOU, important partnerships were forged to create the training programme.

“The TNTA programme is ground-breaking on three fronts. First, it is a serious, professional course that is delivered outside of the MOE network of academic institutions – it is a tripartite initiative. Second, TNTA is skills based, as opposed to academic. Third, TNTA offers trainees a new sense of purpose, a second chance – whatever their education background is, everyone comes in on a new career path to become a deck officer,” Mr Ong said.

In his Facebook posting, Mr Ong described the programme as “one of the best SkillsFuture initiatives. All industries need to get stakeholders together, to develop talent for the future”.

MOU signed to form CTC for Seafaring Sector

Singapore Maritime Employers Federation, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, SMOU and Singapore Organisation of Seamen inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to form an Industry Collaboration Training Committee (CTC) for the Seafaring Sector.

The signing of the MOU on 18 June was witnessed by Minister of Education, Mr Ong Ye Kung and NTUC President and SMOU General Secretary, Ms Mary Liew.

“Over the enxt three years, the CTC will develop a sustainable training system for the maritime workforce. With a culture of retraining and upskilling, this will enable the workers to transit into new or reconstructed jobs that would emerge as the workforce moves to be come future ready,” said Ms Liew.

For Raja Muhamad Asyraf, it felt like it was just yesterday he met Minister Ong on stage. In 2012, Mr Ong pinned an epaulette on Asyraf’s uniform. A photograph of that momentous occasion was taken when he was starting on his Phase 1 training, and a current one showing him as Third Officer with Maersk Tankers, were the centerpiece of a framed memento he proudly presented to Mr Ong.

Asyraf, who is actively juggling further studies at the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA) remembered the early days:

“I felt that a lack of higher academic qualifications was hindering me from going far in life. I chanced upon an ad on TNTA, and responded to it. Having completed the programme, I find that i is a well-defined course with a systematic career development path. Successful cadets can look forward to respectable careers with international shipping lines, and good remuneration based on the progressive wage model.”

Cohort 16 – One Step Nearerto Fulfilling their Dream

During the TNTA 10th Anniversary celebration, guests were invited into the lives of a few TNTA graduates, following their journeys as recounted in a video presentation.

Surveying the ballroom, it was difficult not to notice a dozen young men. They were cadets TNTA Cohort 16 who had been presented their pre-sea certificates by Mr Gilbert Tan, CEO of E2i at a graduation ceremony earlier that day.

“I am very happy to have cleared the modules. The past six months have been challenging, and I’m grateful to my family who has been most supportive from the start,” said Tan Chin Woo, Class President of TNTA Cohort 16. The modest man more than just cleared the modules – he clinched the Most Outstanding Cadet Award for Phase 1 training, a six-month preparatory course at WMI.

His classmates, Mohammad Ruhul Amri and Megat Khairul Hazwan were first adn second-runner up respectively. Amri, who like Chin Woo would be heading for Pacific International Lines Pte Ltd, was all ready to embark on the path ahead.

“After this, we will be spending time at sea, for 18 months, over 6 or 9 month long voyages (Phase 2). After that, a 7 month training at the Singapore Maritime Academy (Phase 3). On clearing that, we will receive our Certificate of Competency Class 3 (CoC3), start work with a shipping line and work our way up, hopefully to the rank of Captain one day.”

Megat, who will be training with CMA Ships Singapore Pte Ltd, was pleased with how things had turned out so far. “The TNTA programme is the right place to be in. Step by step, it opens doors, to a good job and salary, if one is prepared to work hard and stay throughout the course.”

The three gentlemen, all under 30, are on their way to be officers of tomorrow. Chin Woo’s graduation speech as class president was a rallying call to his peers: “Moving on to Phase 2 of our training, we’ve heard stories and can only speculate how tough it is doing to be for us on board. It is now up to us to write our own stories, stories that will transcend generations. Stories that we will one day tell our kids and our grandchildren. For this is what we’ve heard, now it is for us to experience.”

Cohort 16 can take heart that they are not alone. The TNTA is a family where every tripartite partner is doing its part to raise up every cadet. With the Industry CTC now formalised, the envelope of co-operation is pushed, and the family is further strengthened. The environment which cadets train and work in can only get more conducive.

“Out at sea, far from home, familiar faces are always a welcome sight! Being part of the TNTA means being part of a big family,” said Captain Lee Sang Chiat, General Manager, WMI.

“I hope that more shipping companies will come forth to provide training opportunities to cadets. It is a satisfying thing to do – nurture young talents and contribute to building Singapore’s maritime manpower core,” Captain Anthony Khoo, POSH Fleet Services Pte Ltd. POSH has been training TNTA cadets since the get-go, ten years and counting.