#TalkTuesdays - Raoul Fernandes

Name: Raoul Tyson Fernandes

Country of Origin: India

Country of Current Residence: India

Job Title: Learning & Development Manager

1. Why did you choose this career path and how long have you been in your current role?

I have worked in Human Resources since 2010 and on ships since June 2013. I have been a Learning and Development Manager for Carnival Cruise Line since October 2017. I pursued a career in Human Resources as I have always seen myself as a people’s person and focused on the Learning & Development function for personal & professional growth. I truly enjoy the L&D function as it is a cornerstone to drive engagement & positive change while at the same time supporting company ethics and culture.

2. What are you responsible for?

The L&D Manager is responsible to conduct leadership & management, regulatory, orientation & hospitality training onboard, alongside coaching & mentoring the shipboard team & supporting the overall HR Function.

3. What specific qualifications and/or experience is required for this position?

You are required to have a background in Human Resources or Learning & Development with prior experience in presenting or public speaking. As an L&D Manager it is important to have excellent interpersonal & communication skills, while also being a confident and engaging presenter. Knowledge in the use of personnel systems and excellent administrative skills, along with the experience & confidence to coach and mentor Managers & Team Members all make for an excellent fit for the position.

4. Please describe a typical working day for you.

To start off with most seafarers don’t follow days of the week but rather plan out their calendars by the ships location on that day. 🙂So our days of the week would sound a little like this, “Home Port”, “Sea Day” & “Port Day”. Home port for an L&D Manager would typically start at about 8am. You’d be required to se up a venue most often it’s the Learning Centre to help with the on-boarding process. 

What is the on-boarding process you ask? 

Every time a cruise vessel is in it’s primary port (a port where guests start & end their cruise) we have a certain number of crew who leave and go home on vacation and a certain number of crew who join ship to replace them. The L&D Manager along with the Human Resources Director head the on-boarding process to ensure the crew joining the ship have the correct documentation & certification. The whole process could take anywhere between 1 to 3 hours as we could have 20 to 90 team members joining that day. 

Once the on-boarding process is complete, it’s a quick lunch break before starting a familiarization training about vessel safety & layout that is led by the L&D Manager and the ships Safety Officer and Chief Security Officer. The training is then followed by a ships tour and safety drill that involves both guest and crew.  

One of the privileges the ships team at Carnival Cruise Line have is receiving packages and mail, so once the safety drill is complete the HR Team helps to sort through the mail & packages received before we go on a break.  

The evening would involve the L&D Manager scheduling and confirming training and activities for the cruise before opening out the learning center  to distribute mail, and assist the crew with any queries or allow access to the team for any computer based learning activity they wish to do. The day is split between the L&D and their second in command so we manage to get some time off during the day and in the evening too.

5. What personal qualities do you consider to be drivers of success for this position?

At the top of my list of personal qualities for the position are Integrity and Compassion. I mention integrity as the L&D Manager is an example to other team members around the ship, all team members joining ship go through an orientation program, which means the L&D Manager has met most of the team on the vessel. Team Members should be able to look up to their L&D Manager as a career counselor, life coach and someone they can always talk to. Which leads me to my next quality, compassion. Hospitality requires every person whether they work in the back of the house or in a guest facing role to always have their best smile on. Most of the team onboard are away from their families for an average of 6 to 8 months, which is why it is so important to always lead and act with compassion when working with your teams on-board.

6. If you weren’t doing what you are doing today, what other job would you have chosen and why?

If I wasn’t an L&D Manager I would be an Interior Designer. I have a passion for well laid out and cohesive interiors. My favourite styles are Mid-Century Modern, Scandinavian and Boho, the order in which I love these styles changes with the interior I am looking at. I cannot wait to decorate my own home when I finally decide to transition back to life on land, but for now I love what I do.

7. What do you enjoy most and what do you enjoy least about your job?

The best part about working on-board is the fact you can be in Mexico on a Monday, the Dominican Republic on a Tuesday and in Jamaica on Wednesday! Travel isn’t the only thing, working on-board exposes you to over 50 nationalities and learning and sharing traditions with your ship mates in an amazing feeling. There is a bond you make with the people you meet and spend your time with on-board and most of us never lose touch even years down the line. 

Packing your luggage at the end of a contract is always the worst. I’ve done this for 7 years now, and still haven’t managed to figure out how to stay within the airlines luggage restrictions. Here’s a tip – get an additional luggage if the bags you have are incredibly overweight, paying for a third bag is generally more economical than paying for an overweight one, or so I hear. LOL !

8. Which of your co-workers would you like to give a 'shout out' to and why?

For lack of a more apt story – I’d like to give a shout out to Nikky (Managing Director of Cruise Academy). I was onboard the Carnival Fantasy in 2014, when I met Nikky who at the time was our Fleet HR Director. When I met Nikky I was an HR Coordinator in administration, though I enjoyed the work I had always wanted to move into Learning and Development, and with Nikky’s guidance I moved over to the Learning team a couple of months later.

9. Tell us something about yourself that not many people know!

I’d love to think I sing well, but I definitely love to sing. I used to be part of my church choir, and as a teen I always wished I could record a solo album, to the point where I had even written my Grammy acceptance speech.