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

Memorandum by British Ports Industry Training (P 15)

  BPIT notes with some concern that the terms of reference for the sub-committee's study do not mention training or qualifications for the port industry's workforce. However, we trust that the following information will not be considered irrelevant.

  1.  British Ports Industry Training (BPIT) is the National Training Organisation (NTO) for the UK ports industry. It has an annual budget of £300,000, a substantial portion of which is provided by the Department of Education and Employment to facilitate projects which meet the Government's training and education agenda. BPIT has a membership scheme, to which almost all commercial ports and harbours subscribe. BPIT's membership covers 85 per cent of ports and 75 per cent of the industry's employees. It is therefore well-placed to comment on the skills needs of the industry. A list of BPIT's members is attached (Appendix 1), from which it should be noted that these include terminal operators, stevedoring and contract labour companies, pilotage organisations and ferry companies, as well as port authorities.

  2.  BPIT's mission is "to be the focal point in the UK for the development and promotion of ports-related standards of competence, where appropriate, and to ensure that each organisation in the ports industry understands that a highly trained and qualified workforce is vital to its success".

  3.  BPIT was formed in 1992 and became an NTO in 1998. It employs five members of staff based in Newmarket. It has developed competence standards and qualifications for most of the industry's operatives as well as for marine pilots. It is currently developing standards for supervisors and senior marine staff.

  4.  BPIT provides a service to the industry and is a not-for-profit organisation. It communicates regularly with industry organisations, keeping them informed of current initiatives in training, qualifications and other related matters. It undertakes surveys of the industry, feeding labour market data back to Regional Development Agencies and other stakeholders. A recently published "skills portfolio" addresses the industry's skills needs over the next five years.

  5.  Four advisory committees consisting of 70 members from over 40 different ports provide a two-way communication facility with the industry. Each committee focuses on a different aspect of the industry, namely stevedoring, marine operations, passenger operations and management.

  6.  BPIT works closely with the two main trade associations—BPA and UKMPG—and liaises on a regular basis with the Ports Safety Organisation.

  7.  During the next three years BPIT intends to undertake the following in pursuance of its mission:

    —  to encourage adaptability to technological change;

    —  to encourage the employment of younger people in the industry;

    —  to review the availability of qualified marine personnel;

    —  to facilitate basic skills training for cargo-handlers;

    —  to provide appropriate qualification structures for managers;

    —  to encourage all employees to receive training in customer service;

    —  to encourage greater flexibility in working methods;

    —  to assist labour suppliers to locate suitable training facilities; and

    —  to encourage lifelong learning.

  8.  All the above are designed to assist the industry in its quest to be competitive with other ports in Western Europe and to ensure that its employees are competent and qualified for the jobs they perform.

Bob Jones

Chief Executive

January 2001

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