Giving 110%: New partnership boosts training capacity

Trainees familiarize themselves with personal floatation devices during an NETP course. MCPL NATHAN MOULTON

Giving 110%: New partnership boosts training capacity 

By Naval Training Group Public Affairs 

The Emergency Measures Training Center in Lévis, Quebec. MCPL NATHAN MOULTON

“Supply and demand” is a concept often used to understand consumer behaviour. 

But the model extends beyond economics and can shape a range of management decisions, including those affecting the naval training system. 

Case in point: Naval Environmental Training Programme (NETP) courses are conducted on both coasts. For the past 20 years, the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) two state-of-the-art Damage Control Training Facilities (DCTF Galiano in Esquimalt and DCTF Kootenay in Halifax) have been operating near capacity, teaching shipboard firefighting and damage control. The qualifications are mandatory for every sailor prior to employment onboard ship and then periodically (refresher training) for the rest of their careers. Demand is constant and predictably surges in summer with the addition of Naval Reservists.  Occasional staff shortages or facility maintenance actions can exacerbate the issue, resulting in backlogs. 

When the RCN initiated the Naval Experience Programme (NEP) it became clear to Naval Training Group (NTG) leadership that a new and innovative approach was required to accommodate the hoped-for increase in recruits. 

“We are well supported by CFB Valcartier when conducting general military training,” explained Naval Fleet School Quebec’s (NFS(Q)) NETP Coordinator PO1 Anne Milot. “We have the staff, but lacked the necessary infrastructure for firefighting, flood control or sea survival training (NETP Modules 3 and 4).” 

However, the civilian equivalent of a DCTF exists just across the St. Lawrence River from NFS(Q). An idea became a plan, and the plan became a service contract with Institute Maritime de Quebec for use of their Emergency Measures Training Center (CFMU) in Lévis, Quebec. 

“We began contracting support with IMQ in the Spring of 2023. It’s been a tremendous success, and we are continuing with the first of two option years,” said PO1 Milot. 

In its inaugural year NFS(Q) ran three courses of 20 personnel each.  They anticipate adding a fourth serial for 2024. 

Although the contract is capped at $1.8 million annually, training sessions are scheduled “as required” and fees are calculated on a per student basis: consequently, DND only pays for what it needs. 

“The arrangement provides us with a great deal of flexibility,” emphasized PO1 Milot. “It’s an effective option for when the Navy needs additional training capacity that can be tailored to suit our needs.”  

Independent curriculum oversight is performed by authorities at Naval Fleet School Pacific in Esquimalt. Because Canadian government and civilian agencies both refer to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) convention on the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCWS), the task of administering a consistent training standard is simplified. 

Naval Training Group is committed to seeking innovative ways to improve the quality and efficiency of the military training system. Its leadership is confident the novel arrangement with IMQ will reduce the time taken for new sailors to join their first ship, permit unconstrained trainee throughput and ultimately bolster RCN personnel readiness. 

“This is a very exciting and positive development for instructional staff,” stated PO1 Milot. “We are now able to deliver the entire NETP programme and feel our efforts are having a positive effect across the navy!” 

Sailors rehearse door and hatch procedures.