European Maritime sector granted EU funding for a ‘SkillSea’ project

The European Commission will co-finance the ‘Futureproof Skills for the Maritime transport sector (SkillSea)’ project as publicly announced at a signature ceremony hosted by the Commissioner of Transport, Violeta Bulc, earlier this week. The project aims to develop strategies to identify and meet the future skills needs of the maritime sector and attract greater numbers of Europeans into the maritime sector. The four year project work will begin in January 2019.  The Europe-wide consortium established by the industry’s recognised social partners, the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and led by the Rotterdam-based educational and research institute STC Group comprises of 27 national maritime authorities, shipping companies, shipowners’ associations, maritime trade unions and maritime education providers from 16 countries in Europe. The ‘SkillSea’ project, will be co-financed under Erasmus+ with the goal of producing a sustainable skills strategy for the maritime and related activities both at sea and ashore.

The project aims to:

  • Increase the number of European maritime professionals
  • Map out technological developments in ship operation and their effect on the industry’s skills requirements
  • Overcome barriers to the mobility of seafaring labour
  • Improve co-operation between education providers, competent authorities and industry

EU Commissioner of Transport, Violeta Bulc stated on Twitter: “We can’t predict exactly how automation will affect the labour force. But we can engage in equipping Europeans with the best possible skills. Great to see maritime social partners signing up to EU Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills.”

Unique cooperation
Renee Boelaars for STC Group said: “STC Group is looking forward to lead and collaborate with the 27 project partners to develop both a strategy and concrete educational packages aimed at digital and 21st century skills in the maritime transport sector. This project enables through its research the development of tools to enhance and propose educational packages based on needed skills through a unique cooperation between maritime education and training providers, shipping companies, social partners and national maritime authorities in order to equip students with the necessary skills as well as increasing their horizontal and vertical mobility”.

Martin Dorsman for ECSA, said “ECSA is pleased to hear that our application was successful and that the importance of developing a forward-looking skills strategy for our sector has been recognised. We are most grateful for the trust that has been placed in us and our social partners and other consortium members to bring it to fruition. ECSA looks forward to the commencement of work on this exciting project which will contribute to the competitiveness of European seafarers and European shipping.”

Eduardo Chagas for ETF said: “In view of the increased digitalisation and automation of the sector, it is hoped this project will contribute to a smooth transition resulting in high-quality employment and training for European maritime professional and the sustainability of maritime clusters in Europe. It will also aim to attract increased numbers of Europeans into maritime employment and to equip them with the skills necessary to meet the changing needs of the sector.  This will ensure that they enjoy rewarding and long-term maritime careers, not only onboard ships but also in the shore-side clusters that support the seagoing industry and are a significant source of jobs throughout the EEA.

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