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Not Enough Skilled Engineers: Goundar

Not Enough Skilled Engineers: Goundar
George Goundar
September 23
01:16 2015

Lack of skilled ship engineers in the country is a major concern for a prominent local shipping operator.

George Goundar, managing director of Goundar Shipping Limited said this is a major challenge for his company that currently owns three vessels – MVs Lomaiviti Princess I, Lomaiviti Princess II and Queen of Chilliwack.

Mr Goundar said that while they have qualified engineers, for those he interviewed recently lacked the basic skills and knowledge of the profession.

With an engineering background, Mr Goundar knows too well the nits and grits of shipping engineering.

In light of his experiences conducting job interviews during a recruitment drive, Mr Goundar said he is surprised to note that interviewees lacked basic engineering knowledge.

He even suggested that expatriates would be a better option to hire in the future, should he invest more into the shipping industry and expand his fleets.

“One of the biggest challenges for the company is man power, mainly engineers. In my opinion, the standards of engineers produced are not of par. They have the ticket of engineers, but they don’t seem to have the knowledge of shipping and engineering,” Mr Goundar said.

“We don’t know where to go to but we are hoping that respective ministries and the government would allow us to get experts from abroad to work on the vessels.

“Just recently, I interviewed some engineers but they lacked the basics of engineering and this is very disheartening,” Mr Goundar added.

In reply to this concern, the Fiji Maritime Academy (FMA), has admitted this shortfall saying the result was connected to the poor quality training in the past.

FMA chief executive officer, Captain Suren Gurusinghe said since CINEC, the largest private higher-education organisation in Sri Lanka took over the management of the maritime institute last year, a lot has changed, including updated curriculum and state of the art leaning facilities.

The Academy promises to produce a new generation of seafarers this time round.

“Yes, we admit the fact that skilled human resources is not only in Fiji, it’s a global problem and the poor quality of the education given to FMA graduates in the past.

“Due to the same reason, FMA management was handed over to CINEC Sri Lanka.

“After arrival of CINEC we have introduced new syllabi for Engineering and nautical students,” Captain Gurusinghe said.

He added that they have also brought in from overseas some qualified and quality Class 1 marine engineers to take control of engineering courses offered at the Academy.

“We will bring few more quality lecturers from overseas to increase the education standards at FMA,” Captain Gurusinghe said.

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