Training Needs Assessment Report
The Commission recognizes the importance of shipping for Europe’s economic growth and employment, throughout history but also towards the future. However they have also stated that updated strategies are needed in order to obtain further sustainable growth within the European maritime industry and in order to make sure it reaches its full potential. For Europe to compete with this ever globalising context the Commission’s communication ‘The EU’s maritime transport strategy 2009-2018’ presents the main strategic goals for European maritime transport. It identifies which actions are needed in order to enforce the competitiveness of the European maritime sector and it focuses on six main directions:
- Globalised markets
- Quality shipping
- Working in the international scene
- Exploiting the full potential of short-sea shipping
- Human resources and maritime know-how
- Top maritime research and innovation
The EU’s maritime transport strategy 2009-2018 has a special section devoted to the human factor in European shipping. Both the Commission and the KNOWME project recognize the need for qualified European maritime professionals in order to keep the European maritime industry competitive in general. The Commission stated the importance for increasing the number of qualified European seafarers in order to continue a sustainable growth of the European maritime industry which can compete with other regions. This training needs assessment tries to find out what the gap is in MET in relation to the trends in the maritime industry and in relation to expected future trends within the industry. It tries to answer the following research question: What type of training of seafarers is needed in the coming decades to improve the competitiveness of the European maritime industry?
According to The EU’s maritime transport strategy 2009-2018, according to seafarers themselves and according to other experts (e.g. from the Task Force on Maritime Employment and Competitiveness) within the maritime industry, MET should, in addition to the focus on classic seafaring competences, have a focus on:
- Environmental issues
- Intercultural relations
- Safety and security guidelines
- Soft skills
- Maritime law
- IT and computer skills
Three technical papers (TP) discussed in this report try to find more specifically a gap in MET in one of the specific subfields mentioned above.
- In TP 3.2.1 (focused on environmental issues) shipping companies expressed a need for updates on technological progress and upcoming legal obligations, which now is only supplied by internal courses.
- In TP 3.2.2 (focused on cross-cultural education and training) maritime professionals indicated a need for knowledge in how to manage conflict in culturally diverse teams, how to communicate efficiently in a culturally diverse working environment, how to lead and build culturally diverse teams and how to live together with other cultures onboard.
- In TP 3.2.3 (focusing on soft skills) seafarers argued that the development of skills related to teamwork, intercultural competences, leadership, and bridge resource management are necessary so that maritime professionals are better able to face the rapid changing context within the maritime industry.
The Commission and the TFMEC both argued for advanced training courses for seafarers during their study, which go beyond the basic STCW requirements. Moreover, seafarers are now mainly trained for only a career on board. However with the majority of European seafarers leaving the ship after 5 to 10 years it is wise if maritime education also puts a focus on the career of seafarers after their sea time. Future MET should therefore not only consider the industry’s needs, but also integrate it with the needs of maritime professionals considering their career paths. The EU strategy 2009-2018 and the different technical papers discussed in this report mentioned that advanced training courses should also be accessible on board. perception of human capital from a resource based view. This could require new policies in order to enhance this change; however, the initiative must be planned strategically. There are studies that have been effectively carried out in the maritime industry and other industries that can be used to guide this planning. Part and parcel of this initiative is the KNOWME career path development concept. It is advised that this concept be further developed in order to incorporate this in the strategic planning.
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