Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by the British Ports Industry Training (P 15A)


  Currently, three nationally-recognised qualifications (NVQs) exist for operatives employed in the ports industry. They are:

    —  NVQ Level 2 in Stevedoring;

    —  NVQ Level 2 in Port Passenger Operations; and

    —  NVQ Level 2 in Marine Operations (Ports).

  The take-up of these qualifications has been poor, despite promoting them widely. To date, the numbers of awards made are:

    Passenger Operations—1; and
    Marine Operations—5.

  Further work is currently being undertaken between BPIT and its awarding body, Edexcel, to encourage greater uptake.

  The main problem with these qualifications is that employers perceive them as bureaucratic and time-consuming. BPIT has attempted to facilitate the process by producing guidance for assessment centres and other relevant documentation.

  However, those employers that have encouraged their workforce to attain NVQs report high levels of motivation. Employees perceive that such a qualification is recognition of their competence, something that has not been acknowledged before.

  A further benefit of a qualified workforce lies in the marketing of a port's services. If it is able to say that its workforce is qualified, it stands a better chance of attracting a customer, whose concerns normally include damage to cargo and speed of handling.

  BPIT hopes that the sub-committee will encourage the uptake of such nationally-recognised qualifications amongst the industry's operational workforce.

  No qualifications yet exist for supervisors and managers, including marine pilots. Discussions are currently taking place between the Pilots' trade association, the competent harbour authorities and BPIT to agree the best form of qualification for pilots. Other qualifications—for harbour masters and port control staff—may emerge in due course.

2 April 2001

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