Sailors by vocation … and training


He comments that he comes from a medium cycle of professional training. That He discovered his love for the sea at the age of 20 and decided to stay there.

“I don’t know what I saw, but I felt comfortable with both the crew and the job. It was my thing. I got into one. Without thinking”

Jose Miguel Gestido


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Among the seamanship he became one more in the months of practical training of the Higher Dual Cycle of Machines of the Vigo Atlantic Maritime-Fisheries Polytechnic Institute. Between September and December he learned the theory, on land. Between January and June – or July depending on the tides – he embarked in reality, at sea. The same the second year of training. At 22 years old, he has managed to stumble upon something that many do not achieve in their entire lives, a vocation. That instinctive vital voice that reminds you that you can make long days on board a project, also of use and enjoyment.

With the Moradiñas shipowning company they sailed the North Atlantic fisheries. He worked both on a machine and on a bridge. “We have a schedule but it is something continuous. If there is a breakdown, anything, you have to be”Acknowledges the student. He entered at 8 in the morning, until twelve noon gave him a break to eat. At four thirty I would resume the boat maintenance routines, what they call catch. And a break from six thirty to eight gives way to another turn. Until midnight, four hours of watch in which to be aware of the freezing of the ship, the main engine, pressures, temperatures and possible failures. “In the guards the maintenance of the different engines is usually done”, bill. “Which arises”.


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The first tide, he acknowledges, has nothing to do with the last. Because he was acquiring skills as well as responsibilities. A learning path accompanied by self-interest and tutors: machine chiefs with long professional and vital careers, as well as teaching skills.

“We want him to learn in other boats of the firm, to go through all the positions”


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“We want you to know everything. Let it form. Not just as chief engineer, but learn on other company ships and let him go through all the positions ”, reflects Moisés Soliño, head of the Moradiña assembly company. So when the agreement with the training school ended, the company hired him. “There are companies that do not undertake to hire the student at the end of the agreement,” says Gestido which, he considers, has been his luck.

Because the sea has a generational change problem. Professionals in the sector, those with experience, are around 50 or 55 years old. And it is already known that they retire at 55 years old. The next generation found little interest in the profession: “There was a generation gap. They didn’t want to go to the sea ”, explains Soliño’s challenge. Although a change in trend is beginning to be seen.

“Young people are beginning to see a future in the sea. People with a vocation who want to study to work in the sector ”, argues the head of the assembly plant.

A point at which the training cycle of the Vigo Atlantic Maritime-Fisheries Polytechnic Institute is articulated as a catalyst. For practical purposes, the training school finds itself with advantageous students if they come from a medium training cycle “because they have already gone on a boat,” says Consuelo Romar, head of studies at the Nautical School of Vigo. Those who do not, start from total ignorance of the sector. “Everyone has worked hard, nobody was given anything as a gift.”

With few exceptions, the students of the upper dual cycle of machines are employed in fishing. Soliño adds that among the selection criteria, attitude prevails. “We do an interview and see if they have a vocation for the sea”. In his opinion, the company takes risks, trains young people, establishes an agreement with the vocational training center.


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Another thing is the aggressive competition between companies for professionals, in an environment in which generational renewal is lacking. Gestido assumes the strangeness with which a young man who wants to go to the sea is observed.

“I tried the North Atlantic. Not everyone is worth spending so much time away from home ”


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“I tested the seas of the North Atlantic for two and a half months. It would be necessary to try to take four or five months. Let’s see how I am doing. Not everyone is worth spending so much time away from home “, he reflects. He learns, still, from his peers. And he is preparing to make the sea of ​​his life project.

From the boat to the classroom: the handicap of the accreditation of the professional trajectory

Most ship workers, “both on machines and on the bridge”, have a lot of experience. They are professionals who started very young at sea, who could not study and that today they cannot afford to lose a year or three to take a training course for machines or skippers that proves their experience with a degree, explained Moisés Soliño, head of the Moradiña assembly plant within the framework of the Conference on Dual FP in the maritime fishing field, held at ARVI. “Towards the office without simple greasers, but they are real heads of machines without a title.”

So Soliño took the opportunity to ask that a training accreditation be created for these professionals who cannot “spend two years studying.”


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His arguments include his long history in boats as well as his high training. “We ask for effort on the part of the administrations to facilitate the degree and that these people access the qualification. They are qualified but not with titles ”.

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