When it comes to the welfare and wellbeing of our members, SMOU goes deep and wide. Never has it been more relevant for the young seafarers and their families to learn about SMOU in the early stage of their careers, before signing on to their ships.
SMOU reached out to more than 50 students from the Diploma in Nautical Studies (DNS) and Diploma in Marine Engineering (DMR) of Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA) on 26 August and 28 August respectively.
To raise awareness about the union, brother Dominic Yong, Young SMOU (YSMOU) Chairman, shared with the students on the rights of seafarers and the role of the union in safeguarding their interests. This covers seafarers’ employment with regards to workplace representation, grievance settlement and workplace advisory. Students also discovered that the union’s care extends to their education and family, with benefits such as education subsidy for the seafaring members, social and networking events, training and development workshops and more.
During the outreach talk, students also learned about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) onboard ships from Capt Stanley Siaw representing Wavelink Maritime Institute (WMI). Since the SMA students would be sailing for the first time in the coming months, it is important for them to understand the diverse workforce and culture with whom they will be working with onboard a ship. The students were educated on how to embrace diversity, promote equity and practice inclusion. Capt Stanley shared the dos & don’ts if he/she experienced any form of harassment or discrimination onboard. He emphasised that the cadet should always report and never ignore a harassment or a discrimination incident.
During the outreach session with the DMR students, 4th Engineer Yin Jinghong (YSMOU member), provided valuable guidance on the preparations needed before joining ship. She shared the responsibilities of a cadet and emphasised the mindset required while working on a ship. Jinghong also shared her personal journey and how being a SMOU member had positively impacted her and provided opportunities for networking among seafarers. Additionally, she highlighted that she has benefited much with membership perks such as education subsidies and other social benefits.
After all these sharing about the union, fostering DEI onboard ships and seafarer’s sailing experience, the future mariners are now more prepared to embark on their cadetship, armed with not just the skills, but with an understanding of unity, inclusivity, and resilience.