Strasbourg, 15 November 2023 – The third joint meeting of the examination commissions responsible for the assessment of inland navigation deck crew members across CESNI Member States took place in Strasbourg on 15 November 2023. The event was also accessible online, ensuring widespread participation. It featured nearly 50 experts representing 12 CESNI Member States as well as Ukraine, river commissions, social partners, and EDINNA.
With the primary goal of promoting collaboration, knowledge sharing, and addressing key concerns, the meeting aimed to facilitate informative and valuable exchanges regarding the European Standard for Qualifications in Inland Navigation (ES-QIN). It focused in particular on its standards for practical examination (Part II). Indeed, this gathering was of paramount importance due to the recent implementation of new international regulatory frameworks for professional qualifications in inland navigation, which brought substantial modifications in training content and examination procedures.
Ms Lucia Luijten, Secretary General of the Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR) and Executive Secretary of CESNI opened the meeting with a warm welcome to all participants. She stressed the pivotal role played by examination commissions in the current landscape of professional qualifications. Uniform application and interpretation of the adopted standards are indeed fundamental to ensure equitable conditions for candidates seeking qualifications in CESNI Member States. In a context marked by a severe shortage of personnel, the stakeholders are keen to implement examinations that are consistent with the competences required and the safety imperatives. The meeting then followed its regular business under the presidency of Ms Petra Nethövel-Kathstede, expert from the German delegation and Chair of the CESNI Working group on professional qualifications (CESNI/QP).
Participants engaged in in-depth discussions on the practical application of ES-QIN thanks to the 25 questions submitted in advance by participants. Using concrete examples of examination procedures, examiners discussed the new practices. The new use of simulators for practical examinations has been very well received by stakeholders. This will also encourage the CESNI/QP working group to promote their possible uses.
The fruitful exchanges contributed to better alignment and a shared understanding of the relevant standards and examination criteria. Furthermore, the meeting served as a platform to inform experts about CESNI’s ongoing work related to professional qualifications. Attendees also benefited from a presentation by the German delegation and shared best practices concerning the examination of stretches with specific risks on the Rhine.
In an ever-evolving realm of professional qualifications in inland navigation, this meeting thus provided a forum to address the latest developments, challenges, and opportunities for improving the quality and consistency of training programmes and examinations. It marked a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to ensure fair conditions within a highly qualified and safe European inland navigation sector. The results and key takeaways will provide an excellent basis for the CESNI/QP working group to update the ES-QIN and further enhance the practical examinations.