The opportunities that long haul flights present for strategic thinking

Long haul flights present the perfect downtime for thinking and reflection in my opinion. Those endless hours whiling away the time in the air, wondering how many more absurd movies you can watch or books you can read, is a challenge! It’s true, I do a lot of strategic thinking when I travel. My colleagues tease me whenever I come back from a long trip as my head is stuffed with good ideas, well some are good, some less so.

How lucky for me then that I am about to head out to Australia the week after next – more thinking time – stopping in Singapore on the way back. I am particularly thrilled at the number of members and non-members who have signed up for the two day IIMS Australia seminar in Brisbane. We are quite a crowd. I am very much looking forward to meeting both those I know well and those who I have never met. I hope I can bring some practical help and tips to those who are surveying in Australia for their consideration. I understand Brisbane is suffering something of an unusually chilly winter, so I’d best pack my long johns! Singapore will be warmer for sure; and I recommend our great two day seminar programme of interest to surveyors and eCMID AVIs too. Once again we have attracted some excellent speakers for your benefit.

OK advertising plug for these events over.

But being serious for a moment, there are some huge projects and opportunities lying ahead for the Institute and some serious strategic thinking time is welcome on this occasion. Currently we are evaluating what five year re-accreditation looks like for Registered Marine Coatings Inspectors and eCMID AVIs. Both schemes are managed by IIMS subsidiary, the Marine Surveying Academy, and both are coming up soon for renewal. The pressure is on.

The purchase of Murrills House on the other hand requires little strategic thinking now. Our progress towards taking ownership of this impressive Grade II listed building, a former 7 bedroom manor house with history going back 500 years, is well on track. It is a very exciting development.

But back to strategic thinking once more. As part of my role as Chair of the Certifying Authority Professional Standards Working Group for the past three years, I have been tasked with levelling the playing field. And finally we have a breakthrough in this area. All the UK certifying authorities have come together and agreed a plan of action which, yes you guessed it, requires yet more strategic thinking. My colleague, Hilary Excell, is assisting me. We are closing in on a certification process for those examiners who code British Registered vessels up to 24 metres using the MCA Codes of Practice.

The other activity needing some brain power is the Accredited Marine Surveying Practitioner scheme. In our attempt to define and develop a minimum international standard and accreditation scheme for marine surveyors, many of the hard yards have been worked through now. But hard yards still lie ahead. The outcome, however, could be groundbreaking and a game changer.

And finally, something that required lots of strategic thinking but it now thankfully complete is the UK Marine Surveyor Trailblazer Apprenticeship scheme. Two years on from our initial meeting, the scheme was recently given the green light and UK government approval with funding. At a time when it is not clear to see where the next generation of marine surveyors is coming from, this new programme might go a little way to assist.

Let’s raise a glass to strategic thinking!

Survey well.

Mike Schwarz

Chief Executive Officer



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