Captain Ferdinand Capalihan is training officer at Career Shipmanagement Inc. in Manila. Mr Capalihan has been a coordinator for Spot On Learning since September 2016 and handles everything relating to the company’s online learning program. He sees Spot On Learning’s maritime communication course as an important tool to promote the personal development of the company’s employees. The program specifically supports seafarers who want to enhance their level of English proficiency. Within a period of two to three months, participants learn to improve their pronunciation, fluency and comprehension, which in turn makes them more successful in their work. In his opinion improving English communication skills and promoting personal development in general go very well together.
This is Mr. Capalihan’s motivational message to the seafarers:
"You won't become obsolete as a worker in the maritime sector if you have the tools to communicate effectively. You could even become a better employee. Perhaps you are wondering how? Well, Seatrade offers its seafarers the chance to grow and become better English speakers. As a Seatrade employee, you can benefit from what the Spot On Learning maritime communication program has to offer and become part of something that will help you in your work and maybe also even in your personal life.
Having a good command of the English language is a powerful tool. You can be the person who communicates better, who raises the level of communication on board by improving your English communication skills."
Seatrade is a shipmanagement company based in the Netherlands that works with Career. The company strongly promotes the combination of English language proficiency, cross-cultural communication skills and personal development. All crew members hired by Seatrade are invited to enter English language improvement programs and other development programs. Career and other crewing agents worldwide play an important role in managing the process of testing, promoting and monitoring continuous learning and certifying.
Mr Capalihan's message stresses that for individual seafarers there are many reasons to want to improve their communication skills. Becoming a better employee often means a better career outlook and more choice. Chances are high that this will result in economic benefits and more work satisfaction in the long run. Also social life on board will be better and bonds with colleagues stronger if crew members are more fluent in English.
Employers (like ship owners and ship managers) benefit in many ways from improving the overall English language skills on board and in the office. Safety performance will very likely improve with overall English proficiency because there is enough research that shows that maritime incidents are often language and culture related. But that is only a narrow view of the many benefits that can be gained from improving communication and making chances of unnecessary misunderstandings smaller.
Of course society at large has much to gain from reducing risks, keeping people safe and helping them to be productive and work together well, even when crew members have very different national and cultural backgrounds.