An organization’s budget is often the primary factor which determines its capabilities. Of course, this is no different when it comes to the military. When budget cuts meant that the Royal Netherlands Navy could not provide naval training to other navies, especially in regards to the transfer of ships to foreign countries, this became an opportunity for Navtrain. With a staff of almost exclusively former navy personnel, they could step in and offer the necessary training.
For managing director Kees Kuenen, having Navtrain join the Partners for International Business (PIB) initiative with Malaysia and Singapore was a fairly simple decision. Not only did he travel there for the purposes of acquisition occasionally, but he had even lived in Malaysia for about three years.
While Mr. Kuenen had built up a notable network with the Malaysian navy during his time there, he noted that it was still difficult for Navtrain to get involved. He explained that, while there was interest in Navtrain’s training programs, it was difficult to get official support for such an arrangement if it wasn’t part of a larger official program or an urgent operational requirement that needed to be fulfilled.
As such, being a part of the PIB came in quite handy for Navtrain. With the profile of a government-backed international program, Navtrain found it was significantly easier to get in touch with decision makers and explain the benefits of their programs.
“Being part of an initiative that’s supported by the government offers people on the other side more guarantees and we’ve definitely noticed the difference.”
Mr. Kuenen went on to say that Navtrain is, at time of writing, working hard to get the right people to take notice. He also mentioned that the company was hoping to bring along a Dutch partner, who specializes in simulation and new education technology. He emphasized the importance of not just providing training, but exposing people to new ways of learning and training others in the future. Cooperation with local businesses was highlighted as another important factor in ensuring the training is properly tailored and as impactful as possible.
“With our expertise, our partner’s technology and a bit of local flavour, we can accomplish some great things together as well.”
While COVID-19 has made it hard to organize PIB activities with Malaysia, Mr. Kuenen still seemed pleased with the PIB. He explained that, though a visit to the NIDV’s NEDS 2021 had to be cancelled due to COVID-19, the program was quickly adapted and Admiral Tan Sri Reza (Malaysian Chief of Navy) was able to visit Navtrain in November. Mr. Kuenen even said that, while he was there, they made great progress and the Admiral asked for more information and a proposed training program.
Mr. Kuenen was very excited by this progress and, while he added that there was still work for Navtrain to do, he was excited about seeing how things would develop. Also having a Liaison, Fazilah Majeed, at the NL-embassy in Kuala Lumpur proves to be a good investment.