NYK-TDG Maritime Academy/Footsteps of the past 10 years aimed at the future of NTMA:Happiest to have the opportunity to study
■Recruiting in the mountainous regions
“One of the characteristic features of this academy is that many students enroll from inland areas referred toas the mountainous regions in the Philippines,” explains Kazumasa Okazaki, an NYK representative who worked for two years at the NYK-TDG Maritime Academy (NTMA), when talking about the characteristic features of the academy.
There is one surprising figure here.
According to the IMF (International Monetary Fund), the population of the Philippines hit 100 million people in 2014 and grew to 106.2 million people as of April 2017. There is even a chance that the Philippines may surpass the population of Japan, which is suffering from an aging society.
Many Filipino seafarers originate from Cebu, Iloilo and other cities in the south. However, the “newcomer” NTMA purposely recruits students not just from these areas but also from the mountainous regions in the north. “I, also, traveled down roads that look more like walking paths and visited every region in the Philippines. The car I usually used surpassed 180,000 kilometers before it finally broke down,” said Okazaki. The passion that Okazaki, who is also a Chief Engineer, has for seafarer education is extraordinary.
Actually, NTMA only accepts 120-140 students each year and cannot accept more than 180 at the most. Compared to this, the academy received applications from 2,100 prospective students in the first year, and this figure grew to 5,100 in 2015.
The students who have enrolled in NTMA have told their families and friends about the excellence of the academy, and the spread of the academy’s good reputation by word of mouth is one reason for the increase in applications. Also, as part ofthe incentives for the top students, the academy waives tuition for the top 10 students and cuts the tuition in half for the 11-20th ranked students.
Another characteristic of NTMA is the existence of the adjoining training center.
Normally, training centers are established on each floor in a building located in Manila.
■Adjoining cutting edge training center
Given NTMA’s location in the suburbs outside of Manila, it is easy to acquire land, and the academy acquired the adjoining lot. Space at NYK-FIL, which alsoserved as a training center, had become tight, and in 2013, a new 5,930m2 training center was built on the lot adjoining NTMA.
Not only is the training center equipped with top of the line simulators, but it also has actual mooring equipment and an engine. In 2016, a total of 13,600 people participated in training at the center, and 2,000 training sessions were held.
■Open-mindedness is one of the strengths of Filipino seafarers
When asked why the maritime industry has been so accepting of Filipino seafarers, Okazaki responded, “I think it may be because they themselves are open-minded and accepting of foreigners. Foreign seafarers come from countries around the world, including India, South Korea, Vietnam and Russia, but Filipino seafarers are quickly able to get along with everyone, regardless of where they are from.”
Given that English is the official language in the Philippines along with Tagalog, their ability to speak English better than seafarers from other Asian countries is definitely a strength. At the same time, people from the Philippines, which is made up a large number of separate islands, may have little resistance to interacting with seafarers from other countries.
After the 10th anniversary ceremony, one of the current students who responded to the interview said, “Before enrolling, I thought NTMA was a school like some of the other schools that subjects students to demanding physical training. However, after enrolling, I learned that I can focus on studying and the academy has a system in place to support my studies. I am most happy about this point.”
The passion of the faculty who support NTMA, as well as the aspirations of the founders NYK and TDG, are definitely firmly rooted among the current students.