Port Training was established in 2021 to manage the UKHMA HM Certificate Course and to maintain the same exacting standards as previous Training Providers have done over the years.

Jonathan Warren and Helen Guest, the team tasked with managing the UKHMA HM Certificate course for Liverpool John Moores University, provided academic and administrative support from 2016 to early 2021. Together they were the face of the University for this programme and, behind the scenes, they were the University as far as our Candidates, the UKHMA and the general public were concerned. When the agreement with LJMU expired after five years, the UKHMA appointed Port Training to continue the management of their course. Port Training continues in the same tradition as the previous providers in managing this course, based on its excellence of administration, sound educational provision enhanced by the application of blended learning techniques.



Jonathan, a former Harbour Master and a practitioner in maritime education in NW England over the last two decades, founded Port Training to ensure that the existing rigorous academic standards, adhesion to the National Occupational Standards for Harbour Masters and course quality were maintained into the future. Port Training is a wholly owned subsidiary of Maritime Training Limited, which had been established in 2020 to provide quality training to a wide range of maritime industries, including the ports sector, as well as for STCW and RYA based courses.

In 2020 Jonathan’s commitment to maritime training and education was recognised by the award of the Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service.

Maritime Training Limited, at the request of the UKHMA, streamlined the HM Certificate course, making it more accessible for Candidates without compromising on quality and its high academic standard. This new-look version is designed to enhance the Candidate experience and cater for the fact that Candidates these days are more aspirant rather than serving Harbour Masters (or their Deputies), so to meet the requirements for pass, much greater emphasis is placed on Candidates’ understanding of the Underpinning Knowledge aspects of each unit, rather than their supply of documentary evidence which few of today’s Candidates will have written themselves.

Over the years, Jonathan’s contribution to the Course has resulted in significant improvements – which is expected to continue into the future because, although the flag has changed, the same steady hands remain at the wheel.

Maintaining MCA recognition of the HM Certificate is an absolute priority for Port Training, together with service delivery, course efficiency, cost-effectiveness, UKHMA and Candidate satisfaction.

Contact admin@porttraining.co.uk to book your place on our next available course.


The HM Certificate is a voluntary, standalone qualification, open to all Harbour Masters – or those aspiring to become Harbour Masters. It exemplifies professionalism, shows capability, and is tangible evidence of intimate knowledge and understanding of the National Occupational Standards for Harbour Masters (NOS).

Its origins can be traced to 2008 when the UK Transport Select Committee voiced concern over the lack of consistent safety standards exercised between Harbour Authorities when discussing the Draft Marine Navigation Bill. The Draft Bill introduced the concept that Harbour Authorities should employ only “qualified persons” as Harbour Masters.

The HM Certificate course closely follows the HM NOS, which were developed by the port industry training body, Port Skills and Safety (PSS), and the course assessment strategy itself was a joint venture between the UKHMA and PSS, culminating in the first five HM Certificates being issued in 2013.

Uniquely, the HM Certificate is officially recognised by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Department for Transport. The HM Certificate is not STCW-compliant.

In practice, the HM Certificate assessment process takes place over a prescribed 18-month period, during which a Candidate is required to identify, gather and present evidence and submissions showing understanding of the seventeen NOS units for appraisal by two independent and remote assessors who have been appointed by the HM Certificate Management Group.

This is a blended learning course, where Candidates are able to attend Introductory Days and are assessed live by assessors as part of the learning experience. Candidates put together a portfolio of evidence, supplemented by practical underpinning knowledge essay type answers to show their learning as the course progresses.

Much of the course is self-learning, each Candidate has a personal Mentor and there are a number of webinars on topics related to the Course Material which are held throughout the duration of the course.

There are 16 Units in the HM Certificate suite, related to the 17 units of the NOS. Each sets out the requirements for the subject and points you in the right direction. All units are mandatory, irrespective of the background or working environment of the candidate.

Full details of how to submit evidence to the assessors is contained in the course guidance notes as well as discussed with assessors as part of the Welcome and Introduction Session. This is normally done online, through a video conferencing platform.

On successful completion of the remote assessment process, the candidate is invited to attend a face-to-face examination meeting conducted by two oral examiners, hosted and moderated by Port Training. This interview may be monitored by the MCA. The oral assessment may be undertaken virtually, using a video conferencing platform, should circumstances dictate..

After successfully completing this process (and subject to the approval of the MCA), the Candidate is awarded a Harbour Master Certificate, valid for a period of 5 years. Revalidation of the HM Certificate can be achieved by the holder submitting Continuing Professional Development (CPD) evidence, to a prescribed level, for the previous five years.