First Coast Guard Functions course succesfully launched

The first-ever course of the ECGF Training Network took place in the first week of April. The course is a pioneering result for two reasons.

It is the first course that has been planned and executed solely for the purposes of the Network. It is also the first time when the draft Sectoral Qualifications Framework for Coast Guard Functions has been used in practice.

The theme of the Coast Guard Functions (CGF) course was traffic management and improving efficiency through VHF communications. The goal was to design a course that had elements from different coast guard functions and was beneficial for a broad range of experts in the field. The course pursued increasing maritime safety and environmental protection by applying new techniques and methodology in the field of communications.

Course participants represented different areas of expertise and several European organisations. Instructors were from SASEMAR and Italian Coast Guard.

The course was divided into units of theory and practice over three days. In the classroom, students learned about relevant theory, e.g. traffic management strategies and how to construct messages to improve VHF voice communications. Each day ended with practical exercise with VTS simulator, Full Mission Bridge Manouvre simulator and GMDSS simulator.

Learning outcomes were defined for each unit. Learning outcomes are descriptions of skills, knowledge and competences that the student is expected to gain through learning. The Sectoral Qualifications Framework for Coast Guard Functions (CGFSQF) defines learning outcomes for each coast guard function.

The learning outcomes utilised in this course were selected from all functions involved in sea traffic management. This demonstrates the purpose of the SQF – it is a flexible “translation tool” to describe what the qualification holders are expected to know, understand and be able to do to perform tasks related to CGF.

Participants practiced under the supervision and guidance of a course instructor.

An assessment to test the participants was made before and after the course. It enables the course participants to demonstrate the progress of learning to the course instructors and to themselves. After successful completion of the course, the participants receive two certificates – one from the Jovellanos Training Centre and the other from the ECGF Training Network and the ECGFA NET III project.

There will be another course edition in June. That course edition will be the first time involving experts from EU’s neighbouring countries. Another pioneering result in the ECGF Training Exchange Programme!

The course was planned and coordinated by Spanish Maritime Safety and Rescue Agency who coordinates the whole ECGF Training Exchange Programme. Learning outcomes for the course were drafted in collaboration with the Italian Coast Guard who leads the development of the Sectoral Qualifications Framework for CGF.

All these initiatives are part of the European Coast Guard Functions Academy Network (ECGFA NET) project. The project is led by the Finnish Border Guard and co-funded by the EU. The project will end in August but the goal is for these results to outlive the project and continue growing.