Interior Crew Certification Proposal Sparks Debate

A question posted on the ISS forum on LinkedIn about an initiative by the PYA to institute interior crew certification has generated strong comments. Some are focused on the general need—or not—for formal certification, and others have weighed in on some of the particulars of the PYA proposal. Few disagree that interior crew in the evermore demanding superyacht arena should be well trained.
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Photo by John Anderson

Photo by John Anderson

Things are stirring in the department of heads and beds. A question posted on the International Superyacht Society’s (ISS) forum on LinkedIn asking what people think about an initiative by the Professional Yachting Association (PYA) to institute interior crew certification has generated strong comments among captains, crew, representatives of crew training companies and others in the industry. Some are focused on the general need—or not—for formal certification, and others have weighed in on some of the particulars of the PYA proposal. Few disagree that interior crew in the evermore demanding superyacht arena should be well trained.

“There is a great need for interior crew training aboard yachts,” says Vanessa Stuart of VGS Initiatives, an independent crew trainer and course provider.

The Antibes-based PYA issued its proposed Industry Standard for Interior Crew Training & Certification (ICTC) last fall. The curriculum, intended for use by crew training agencies, includes a combination of class work and sea time. It progresses from an introductory level through training for department heads. Topic covered include food, wine and cocktail service; safety, first aid/medical and regulatory training; and, at the senior stewardess level, a tender-driving course. A working group comprised of industry professionals developed the curriculum. (http://www.pya.org/interior-crew-training-certification)

Triple S Consultancy, which administers the Fraser Diamond Collection charter crew training program, was on of the participants in the development of the curriculum.

“Currently there is no official career path for the interior staff and because of it we don’t have enough quality crew to man the interior departments of the yachts,” says Triple S Managing Director Peter Vogel in an email. “There are no guidelines and therefore the captains are forced to accept the lesser quality crew that is currently available.

“We set out to provide tools for the crew to improve their skill set, their knowledge and work on their mindset in particular,” Vogel says. “The PYA has taken it from there and worked closely with myself and a whole team of training providers, suppliers, active and former interior crew and captains from around the world to take it to the next level.”

The PYA estimates the career outlay for interior crew training might be in the range of 8,000 Euros (about $10,600). It estimates career outlay for deck and engineering crew might be 20,000 Euros (or about $26,500). (See Q&A by clicking here)

In response to Stuart’s question about the cost of accreditation for training providers, PYA honorary secretary Joey Meen says: “The fee for the training provider to become an accredited center is 500 Euros ($662) every three years to cover the cost of the auditor, plus a further 50 Euros ($66) per additional course for accreditation.

Photo by John Anderson

Photo by John Anderson

“This covers fees to read and approve the individual course notes, materials and staffing requirements, as well as a facility visit. The training provider will have to also cover travel expenses and sustenance for the facility visits. As we are not for profit, the costs barely cover the auditor’s fees for the time this will take, and these fees will be reviewed annually if required.”

Stuart, who appreciates the attention being paid to interior crew and generally supports the notion of a structured career path, has some reservations about the deck and tender-training portion of the PYA program. This was a hotly debated topic on the International Superyacht Society’s LinkedIn forum. Vogel, however, fully supports it.

“I feel that it is a plus for someone at that level to have an all-round understanding of yachting,” he says. “You might not require it in your current job, but when climbing the ladder you might require the skills and knowledge.”

The discussion thread on the topic can be found on the ISS group page at linkedin.com

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