Becoming a Chartered Marine Technologist signals professionalism and deep expertise and can accelerate career progression.
From satellite monitoring of the oceans to fleet optimisation based on advanced data analytics, new technologies are being employed in the maritime sector as never before. This has created a new breed of experts, who combine their broader understanding of the industry with specialist technical knowledge to optimise the application of existing and emerging technology in a marine setting.
In contrast to their counterparts with a more conventional engineering background or academically-inclined marine scientists, these experts have, to date, lacked options for gaining professional recognition of their abilities. This prompted the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) to develop a special register – Chartered Marine Technologist or CMarTech – that would reflect the unique blend of skills and aptitudes needed to make technology work at sea.
The roles of Chartered Marine Technologists are as varied as the technological solutions they work with. They may be employed as managers, deck officers or superintendents, surveyors, hydrographers, logisticians, or in any number of other positions. What they have in common is that they are all professionals, who employ technology for the advancement of the maritime sector.
They are distinguished by an enthusiasm for maintaining and continually extending their knowledge and skills for enabling the introduction and exploitation of new and advancing technology. They are often engaged in the creative and innovative development of systems, processes and products in new and challenging environments. When faced with a potential new opportunity, they can bring both their theoretical understanding and practical experience to bear in the analysis of requirements in order to develop real-world solutions.
In common with their professionally-recognised engineer and scientist colleagues, Chartered Marine Technologists can demonstrate technical and commercial leadership. They possess the skills to plan, budget, organise, direct and control tasks, people and resources in order take a project from the whiteboard through to its execution.
While the IMarEST is the only organisation permitted to award the CMarTech register, the qualification has been gaining traction since its introduction and is now widely recognised around the globe. Many of the Institute’s members have found the registration helpful to them, especially in terms of career advancement.
IMarEST Fellow Joe Hulm decided to seek CMarTech registration when he switched from a career in offshore energy project development to become more focused on insurance. “There are some roles in your maritime career that need a Chartered status that doesn’t fall into the Engineer or Scientist categories,” he explained. A recent Master’s degree in energy economics satisfied the academic requirements and helped the assessment process along. Hulm is now working as an energy loss adjuster for the insurance consultants Lloyd Warwick International.
Dr James Fishwick leads on the testing and development of new technologies, particularly autonomous systems, at Plymouth Marine Laboratory. He says while it is hard to quantify the benefits of Chartered status in concrete terms, gaining CMarTech status was a definite factor that accelerated his career development. “I have been involved at much higher level with large collaboration projects and won a senior promotion within the Natural Environment Research Council.”
Mads Ragnvald Nielsen CMarTech was a navigator and engineer who completed part-time study to come ashore, where he worked initially as a surveyor and later as a marine accident investigator. He went on to gain an MSc Human Factors and System Safety before setting up his own company, Scoutbase, which is delivering a new generation of safety tools for the maritime and offshore industries.
“It made sense to be formally accredited for the level of knowledge and experience that I had worked hard for in the maritime industry,” he said. “It allows me to distinguish myself in a space dominated by less qualified voices, not least in the current debates around autonomous shipping. Receiving Chartered status gave me confidence and credibility when engaging with senior figures in the sector.”
Keith Swan became a CMarTech for official recognition of his area of expertise while employed at the UK Hydrographic Office. He is now director of Chartwise Training Ltd, where he finds it helps reassure potential clients of his professional credibility. He is also working on a collaboration project with the IMarEST to develop e-learning modules for international marine cartographers.
Barry Warburton, Principal Design Engineer at BAE Systems Maritime Services, highlighted the emphasis that many large organisations put on professional registration. He advises anyone working for organisations that support employees’ career progress to seize the opportunity.
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