Maritime Educational Foundation (MEF) – seafarer training funds

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Circular No: NP/135/16

TO ALL SHIPPING AND OFFSHORE BRANCHES & REGIONAL COUNCILS.

Our ref: S3/2/16

4th May 2016

Dear Colleagues

Maritime Educational Foundation (MEF) – seafarer training funds
Further to Circular no. NP/130/16 of 3rd May 2016, the MEF has set up a fund to help unemployed seafarers meet the cost of keeping their basic training certificates updated.

The Maritime Educational Foundation is a charitable organisation overseen by a Board of Trustees which the union sits on, along with Nautilus and the Chamber of Shipping.  It receives funds from Tonnage Tax companies through the Payment In Lieu of Training (PILOT) scheme, where companies can, in certain circumstances, opt to make a PILOT payment instead of train UK officers or ratings. The MEF is administered by staff from the Chamber and the Merchant Navy Training Board.

All UK Ratings need to check that their basic training qualifications, if required are up to date and compliant with the amended Standards in Certification, Training and Watchkeeping (STCW) in the following areas:
•    Proficiency in Personal Survival Techniques (PST)
•    Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats other than Fast Rescue Boats (PSC & RB)
•    Proficiency in Fast Rescue Boats (PFRB – Not required by all Ratings)
•    Proficiency in Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (FP & FF)
•    Proficiency in Advanced Fire Fighting (AFF - Not required by all Ratings)

If you have not undertaken any refresher or other training in the above categories since 2012, you should seek guidance from your employer on updating your qualifications. Refresher training should come at no cost to seafarers and should be paid for by the employer, as is the usual practice.  The new STCW requirements come in to force on 1st January 2017.

It would be appreciated if Shipping Branches could take steps to alert unemployed Ratings in their area to the MEF Fund which is provided in the form of a grant. This is particularly important in sectors such as Offshore Supply, where over a thousand UK seafarers have been made redundant in a relatively short space of time due to the persistently low price of oil. With the assistance of Branch officials, a number of RMT members made redundant from the Offshore Supply Vessel sector have received a grant from the MEF Fund to refresh their safety and training certification.

The details on eligibility and applying for this support from the MEF can be found here:
http://www.meftraining.org/rating-training/grants-unemployed-ratings-updating-seafaring-certification/

The MEF Fund and its strategic plan for seafarer training will be launched at an official event at the Chamber of Shipping on 21st June. The union will be in attendance and will again make employer and Government representatives in no doubt as to the need for the MEF to expand its work in funding training and other initiatives to support the current and future employment of UK seafarers.

You will be kept updated with any further developments.

Yours sincerely
 
Mick Cash
General Secretary