Scottish Maritime Academy delivers 100% pass rate with online course delivery for fishermen

January 27, 2021

A group of fishermen from across the UK are celebrating success after specialist industry training moved online for the first time.

The Scottish Maritime Academy (SMA) in Peterhead, part of North East Scotland College, moved to remote delivery for the Deck Officer (Fishing) Class 1 and Class 2 courses.

Due to current restrictions, candidates from across the UK were taught remotely over 12 weeks before sitting external SQA/MCA examinations.

All eight candidates sitting the four examinations for the Class 1 Certificate of Competency passed with flying colours – an impressive 100% pass rate. The Class 2 pass rate, for the cohort of six, was 80% – equal to the historical pass rate of courses delivered on site.

Linda Hope, Centre Manager at the SMA, said: “Credit must go to both students and the teaching staff for their perseverance and commitment. Lecturers worked exceptionally hard to overcome the challenges of delivering complex content, such as chartwork, creating bespoke systems and new materials.

“Our aim was to provide the best possible learning experience to the Class 1 and 2 cohort in difficult circumstances and we’re delighted with what has been delivered. With a proven model for remote learning now in place, it opens up new opportunities for the future as we continue to grow and evolve the SMA offering.”

Class 1 student Oliver Hughes, from the Honeybourne 111, said: “For anyone looking to do their class 1, but unsure about remote learning, I would absolutely recommend going for it. The system the academy has put in place is very user friendly. You are always face to face with your tutors, who go the extra mile to help you through, both verbally and visually with different angled cameras, whiteboards and written examples.

“The lecturers make themselves available via email too for when you’re doing your own study in the evenings, meaning one on one help is always there. All the materials you will need, timetables and online classrooms are in one easily accessible place and can be accessed at any time.”

“At no point throughout the course did I feel like we were hindered by doing it online and I can’t thank all the staff enough for making it such a seamless experience. The best way I could describe it was that it felt like we had all the benefits of the classroom from the comfort of our own home.”

James Stephen, from the vessel Ocean Harvest, sat the Class 1 examinations. He said: “When I found out we would be learning online I was a bit unsure but once we were getting on as a group we managed to support each other well. It was hard work for our tutor not being in front of us to show us diagrams etc, but as time went on it became easier. I felt overall the course was successful and I wouldn’t discourage anyone from online learning.”

Simon Potten, Head of Safety and Training at Seafish, added: “This is fantastic news. The SMA team have responded brilliantly to the challenges presented by COVID lockdown and switched from face-to-face teaching to remote online delivery. These superb results are testament to the great job they’ve done, helping these fishermen gain the qualifications they need to advance their fishing careers. Seafish has been delighted to support many of them with financial support thanks to funding provided by Scottish Government and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.”

Further information on dates for future fishing courses can be found at