News Item

More funds to train seafarers

The shipping industry is calling on the Government to double funding to help train seafarers.

The industry is asking for a further £30m in a bid to protect UK maritime jobs as the country gets closer to Brexit.

The UK Chamber of Shipping explains that it has proposed an extension to the Government’s existing Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) scheme such that its members would agree to employ trained newly-qualified officers for a sufficient period to enable them to attain higher qualifications.

The Chamber's CEO, Guy Platten, warns that the UK maritime industry is facing competition from other shipping hubs, including Hong Kong and Singapore, where the cost of training staff is lower than the UK which, at £65,000, is the second most expensive place to train a seafarer - even with the Government’s £22,000 subsidy. And people trained abroad are able to take jobs on UK-registered ships. There is also the pressing issue of the rising age of the UK’s sea-going work force.

The Chamber adds that, if the Government’s provision were increased, the industry 'is confident that companies would train officers in even greater numbers - enabling the UK to claim a greater share of the global market for highly-qualified seafarers'.

The CEO warns 'If the UK does not respond with positive measures to ensure that employment prospects for its seafarers remain strong, it will lose its pool of talent and expertise that its shore-based infrastructure of maritime colleges, surveyors, naval architects, marine insurers and maritime lawyers requires in order to advance the UK’s pre-eminence as a maritime nation.'

He adds that the extra funding would easily raise the number of trainees across the industry from the current 800 annually to 1,200 - and had the ability to increase it to 1,600.

Shipping Minister, John Hayes, is reported to have echoed the industry’s call - saying that the UK must increase the number of qualified officers joining the industry by at least 1,500 each year if it is to close the gap between supply and demand.

Details from the link below . .

  • 05 September 2017
  • RIN

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