In February 2019, the Marine and Air Engineering Training Authority (MASTA) announced that it would be suspending the Marine Engine and Equipment Training (MARET) programme for the second time in three years.
This decision was made on the recommendation of a joint review panel chaired by the Minister for Transport.
The panel, which was chaired by Minister for Transportation Shane Ross and comprising the chief executive of MASTA, the chief engineer of the Marine Electrical Power Unit (MEPU) and the chief inspector of marine systems, reviewed all aspects of the MARET programme.
The review concluded that the programme was no longer appropriate, had not delivered results, and was no better than the current training and certification regime.
The MASTA review panel also found that the training provided to the students was inadequate, that the programmes did not meet the standards required of the Government of Ireland, and that the Government’s decision to suspend the programme had not been taken in the national interest.
The decision to halt MARET was announced in March 2019, just two months after the launch of the Department of Infrastructure.
The suspension of MARET, announced in April 2019, followed an initial assessment by the Department which concluded that: The Marine Engineering Programme is not required in a wide range of engineering disciplines and the current programme is not delivering the results that the government was hoping for.
As a result, the Minister stated that he would not consider future MARET funding.
It is not clear if the Minister will continue to review the programme.
However, it is expected that the decision to remove MARET will be welcomed by the Marine Engineers Association of Ireland.
The Marine Engineering Board has said it is reviewing the Government decision to end MARET and the decision made by the Government to suspend MARET.
The Marine Engineers Board also said it would continue to work with the Government on MARET implementation plans and support their implementation.
The Secretary of State for Transport has said the Government has been clear in its decision to stop the Marine Energetic Materials (MEM) programme, which had been planned as a separate programme.
He said that there were “no winners” in this decision.
In a statement issued to the Irish Examiner on Tuesday, the Secretary of the Navy said that he and his colleagues would continue working with the Marine Board of Ireland to deliver an effective and cost effective programme for training marine engineers.
It is important to stress that the Marine Boards review was independent of the decision taken by the Secretary to suspend MASTA.
MEM is a programme designed to give apprenticeship-level training to apprentices in the construction industry.
It involves training on a wide variety of engineering topics, such as hydraulics, hydraulic piping, welding, welding machines, turbine turbines, piping, pressure vessels, piping piping systems, hydraulic equipment, and electrical systems.
The programme includes the provision of courses on the principles of engineering and the skills required to operate these items.