INTERVIEW: KPI OceanConnect Launches Global Traineeship Programme

by Jack Jordan, Managing Editor, Ship & Bunker
Monday March 27, 2023

Marine energy firm KPI OceanConnect has launched a new global traineeship programme aimed at finding the company its next generation of bunker traders.

The company's two-year 'get fuelled' programme will offer candidates a combination of maritime education and on-the-job training, Patrick Hoé, managing director of KPI OceanConnect's Middelfart office and creator of the programme, said in an interview with Ship & Bunker last week.

"We're launching a trainee campaign which is a bit more extensive that what has usually been doing," Hoé said.

"We want to approach this from a more professional angle, where we are synchronising the recruitment of trainees for KPI OceanConnect. So we are doing the recruitment at the same time across our participating offices, and including all these trainees into one programme."

2023 marks the first year of what the firm plans to establish as an annual fixture. The hunt for candidates has already started in earnest, with screening and interviews planned for next month and offers being sent out in May-June.

The programme will combine classes at the Danish Shipping Academy in Copenhagen from September, leading to a foundation degree in shipping, with a placement at one of six KPI OceanConnect offices worldwide, Hoé explained. The offices participating this year are Middelfart, London, New York, Athens, Singapore and Istanbul.

"The actual hiring date will vary a bit; depending on what office you will be starting in it can be somewhere between May and August," he said.

"It's important that each trainee gets familiar with their home office before the actual education begins.

"We will get a strong, passionate and connected group of individuals and at the same time make sure to provide them with professional input on how to do certain types of bunker trading, we will teach them sales -- all of these things are connected in this programme."

The company does not have a fixed number of trainees to take on, with the total number being determined each year by which candidates apply.

Bunker Trader Job Market

Some marine fuel company executives have reported to Ship & Bunker a difficult environment for hiring bunker traders in recent months, with strong candidates being able to command a premium when looking to switch jobs.

But the launch of KPI OceanConnect's new programme has not been prompted in the main by a difficulty in finding the staff it needs, Hoé said.

"That might be one take on it," he said.

"But the primary driver here is that we often look at what we can offer to our customers, how we can position ourselves better as a partner for customers.

"We've tried to turn that a little bit around and say, in order to enable us to do that, how do we make sure that we have, firstly, the right people on board, and how do we make sure that we actually train people on the proper way?

"The idea here is to be able to provide them more than just being a trainee, but to provide an education and a culture so that we actually market ourselves towards candidates as a place they want to go."

More widely, Hoé said the current state of the job market for bunker traders is not too difficult to navigate for employers, as long as they can demonstrate the potential for career development.

"I would say that it's fairly ok; I wouldn't say easy, and I wouldn't say hard," he said.

"I think the competition is obviously out there.

"The market shows me that people are eager to find somewhere where they can start developing their career in a company that provides them with something like our get fuelled programme."

For more information on the get fuelled programme and to apply for a place, click here