Since the pandemic and the resulting impacts of closing New Zealand’s borders, Fullers360 has operated reduced ferry services on some routes due to the nationwide shortage of skilled maritime crew.
In partnership with Auckland Transport, Fullers360 is pleased to now implement an accelerated training programme (ATP) to further address the skills shortage. Commencing on 1 October, the programme aims to progress maritime crew on the pathway to Deckhand or Skipper, and get them out on the water as soon as possible, which will ultimately help to increase the number of ferry services available for Aucklanders.
We have long signalled there is no quick fix to resolving the maritime skills shortage that has impacted Fullers360. To implement the training programme, some Auckland Transport ferry services will be impacted temporarily so crew and ferries can be redeployed into additional training shifts.
This includes the inner harbour loop ferry service, which Fuller360 will no longer operate from 1 October 2023 onwards. Fullers360 was contracted to operate the service on behalf of Auckland Transport until 31 March 2023, however agreed to extend the operation of these services to continue to provide ferry services while other arrangements could be considered.
Please visit the Auckland Transport website for details, including public transport options:https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/service-announcements/changes-to-ferry-service-from-1-october/
With support from Auckland Transport to redistribute our resources to accelerate training and development, we will be able to progress up to 30 qualified crew to either Deckhand or Skipper in the next 14 - 18 months. The process to escalate this level of training within our workforce outside of a targeted ATP would require between three and five years.
The ATP will run in varying stages with the end goal being 10 – 15 On Board Service/Deck roles promoted to Deckhand roles, and 10 – 15 Deckhands promoted to Skipper roles. These numbers are significant in helping Fullers360 to achieve a full crewing workforce at a faster pace.
The training programme complements other activities Fullers360 has undertaken to address the skills shortage and to maintain ferry services. In the 12 months to June 2023, this included:
- Since January 2023, 90% of our crew have progressed their maritime qualifications, equating to over 550 progressions in total.
- Passing on an average of 15 plus per cent wage increases over last 18 months to Fullers360 crew and bus drivers to help keep skilled team members in New Zealand.
- Recruiting all entry level marine positions locally.
- Investing in local and international recruitment campaigns, including working with Immigration New Zealand to recruit skilled maritime crew, including funding qualification conversion costs for recruits.
- Auckland Transport media announcement: Ferry service changes to support crew training programme (at.govt.nz).