General information on OBT coordinated by Merenkulun HarjoitteluMylly
Merenkulun HarjoitteluMylly collaborates with some 20 Finnish shipping companies. HarjoitteluMylly provides placements on about 70 of the shipping companies’ vessels. There are seasonal variations in the number of vessels available. The icebreakers, for example, are only in service during winter. Some icebreakers accept OBT apprentices when in service. In the summers, the ro-pax vessels and some cargo ships have additional crew and therefore no cabin space for apprentices.
The merchant vessels to which HarjoitteluMylly allocates OBT are all under Finnish flag and in international traffic. OBT-places on ships in domestic traffic in Finland, or on audited school vessels, are allocated by the maritime academies. HarjoitteluMylly currently has no cooperation with foreign shipping companies. The students can contact foreign shipping companies themselves, but in this case, they must first discuss the matter with their academy’s onboard training responsible.
HarjoitteluMylly distinguishes between two different categories of vessels: liners and trampers (tramp vessels), a.k.a. ‘wild line vessels’. Liners follow a relatively regular route, a line. They run on schedule, but of course taking into account changes in e.g. the weather. Trampers follow the freight, i.e. they transport the cargo according to orders. The timetables for tramp vessels can vary extensively and the next port is not always known.
HarjoitteluMylly strives to allocate the OBT-places about two weeks in advance, but from time-to-time places can be offered at very short notice. This is especially true of tramp vessels, but as a rule, supply and demand affect how quickly an OBT-placement can be obtained.
The vessels to which HarjoitteluMylly allocates placements operate mainly in the Baltic Sea and/or in the North Sea. Tramp vessels can sometimes visit other seas.
The OBT is divided into crew- and officers’ OBT. Crew level are: Watchkeeping rating (deck or engine), Repairman and Electro-technical rating. Officer’s level: Deck officer, Watchkeeping engineer and Electro-technical officer.
HarjoitteluMylly forms a link between students, shipping companies and maritime academies. The shipping companies and the vessels are responsible for the OBT and the apprentice when on board. HarjoitteluMylly acts only as a broker of OBT-placements.
Onboard training offers great opportunities
Merenkulun HarjoitteluMyllys goal is to give the apprentice as diverse a picture of the seafaring profession as possible. HarjoitteluMylly works towards that goal by giving the apprentice placements on as many different ships, shipping companies and ship types as possible. HarjoitteluMylly also wants to assign OBT of varying duration, “turns” of varying length, to each apprentice. During OBT on different ships, one may experience that a type of vessel that did not seem interesting at first, in fact is the best option for oneself. The OBT offers a learning environment where the student can internalise the necessary knowledge and skills for the profession. Versatile OBT in different ship environments enhances learning and professional development.
The length of a turn is mainly determined by the route of the vessel and by the number of active applicants for OBT. In practise, the length of a turn varies between three and six weeks. Three weeks is a minimum turn, four is a very common duration and sometimes turns can extend up to even nine weeks. The duration and dates a student is notified for a turn are always preliminary! The timetables of ships can change very quickly, so it is important to be prepared for all kinds of changes.