Nurturing Singapore’s Maritime Core: Celebrating 10 Years of TNTA

It was only 10 years ago that the groundbreaking S$2.4 million Tripartite Nautical Training Award (TNTA) was born. And 10 years on, the ship is still sailing strong to foster Singapore’s next generation of maritime leaders.

Jointly rolled out by the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU), SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), and supported by NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (E2i) and the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), the Tripartite Maritime Training Award (TMTA) programme has made waves in the maritime industry and beyond. Join us as we celebrate the achievements of this unique programme on its 10 year anniversary.

The importance of Singapore’s maritime industry

Recognised as a premier International Maritime Centre, Singapore’s maritime industry has been vital to the island’s economy since its founding in 1819. The second busiest port in the world, it contributes 7% of Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), constitutes over 5,000 maritime companies and employs over 170,000 people. With a strategic location, world-class infrastructure and consistent investments in R&D, an additional 5,000 maritime jobs and $4.5b in value are expected to be created by 2025.

How the TMTA helps Singaporeans make it in maritime

The Wavelink Maritime International (WMI), under SMOU, delivers two distinct courses that run for 30 and a half months.

1. Tripartite Nautical Training Award (TNTA)

CoC (Class 3) Deck Officers Training

  • Pre-sea Training: 6 months
  • On Job Training onboard ship: 18 months
  • Preparatory Training, Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) and Class 3 Certificate of Competency (CoC) examination: 7 months

2. Tripartite Engineering Training Award (TETA)

CoC (Class 5) Marine Engineer Training

  • Pre-sea Training: 8 months
  • On Job Training onboard ship: 15 months
  • Preparatory training, Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) and Class 5 Certificate of Competency (CoC) examination: 8 months

To make a career working at sea accessible, SSG, MPA and SMOU heavily subside each course (around 90%) and a monthly allowance is available to successful candidates.

Upon completion, TMTA’s qualified officers can benefit from a good starting salary, progressive wage model and the license to work on international vessels – integral for capitalising on the global shortage of seafaring officers (estimated to be around 17,000 worldwide).

TMTA Key Milestones 

2010: TNTA-01, TNTA-02, TNTA-03

  • The TNTA is launched with a pioneering cohort of 20 cadets


2012: TNTA-04

  • The TNTA Advisory Committee comprising of Tripartite Partners is launched
  • Ship Visits for observational lessons in Phase 1 are introduced


2013: TNTA-05, TNTA-06

  • The 1st TNTA COC Class 3 Holder, Selvakumar, graduates in November 2013
  • Selection Entrance Tests and practical Ship Handling lessons are introduced
  • Additional engagement activities with the MPA, e2i & SMOU are introduced


2014: TNTA-07, TNTA-08

  • The Wavelink Maritime Simulation Centre is incorporated as a new training facility
  • Full Mission Ship Handling Simulators are utilised in the Phase 1 curriculum
  • Family Engagement Sessions and the Cadet Liaison Officers initiative are introduced
  • e2i Team Building activities are introduced before Phase 1 commencement


2015: TNTA-09, TNTA-10

  • The Phase 3 Support Structure is introduced
  • The first “Learning Journey” onboard Cruise Vessels and SMOU “Fireside Chat” with Union Officials are held


2016: TNTA-11, TNTA-12, TETA-01, TETA-02

  • The Tripartite Engineering Training Award (TETA) is launched
  • Weekly Town Hall Meetings between WMI Academics and Cadets are introduced


2017: TNTA-13, TNTA-14


2018: TNTA-15, TNTA-16, TETA-03

  • 1st Alumni achieves COC Class 1 Officer
  • New funding secured with SSG and MPA


2019: TETA-04

  • 50 Nautical Officers & 1 Engineering Officer trained
  • TNTA 10th Anniversary

How TMTA changed the life of its 50th officer

While the TMTA programme has reached many milestones, what really matters is how it has impacted the lives of its cadets such as that of Farhan Bin Mohamed Fadillah, its 50th officer.

A Mass Communications graduate, Farhan spent nearly 4 years facing stagnation in the advertising industry. Tired of doing the same thing day-in, day-out, something had to change.

“After quitting my job, I began working at a maritime company and did some cold calling,” said Farhan. “I noticed the words ‘captain’ by the telephone numbers and that intrigued me – how did they get that title?! I later discovered that you need to take a ‘special course’ and thought it sounded interesting for a new career.”

Following his intuition, Farhan completed that ‘special course’ and has since sailed from the Straits of Malacca to the Pacific Ocean. “I learned how to take control of and command a ship, to appreciate others, to take responsibility and to respect different cultures,” said Farhan. “But the thing I like most is that there is far more progression here – there is a clear path.”

The next 10 years will only bring more opportunities in the maritime industry. The question is, will you take them and be a part of the Singapore maritime core? To discover how TMTA can help you embark on a successful career on the high seas, check out the Tripartite Nautical Training Award (TNTA) and the Tripartite Engineering Training Award (TETA).

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