In 2022, the IMarEST analysed the responses from 700 marine engineers, scientists and technologists and spoke with experts from its Special Interest Groups in answer to the question: What do you think are the greatest challenges that will impact your sector/area of expertise in the short, medium and long-term future?’
nterpreting the responses to the survey question shows that challenges align along three main themes: people, technology and the environment. These themes are deeply interconnected and are vital to the future of the sector and a sustainable blue economy, IMarEST said.
The survey took place before the war in Ukraine had started; today many of our members are working
in sectors which are being very hard hit by challenges arising from that conflict.
.. IMarEST highlighted
Th survey revealed the following key challenges for the short, medium, and long-term:
- attracting people into careers in marine engineering, science and technology
- retaining people and expertise as roles change
- ensuring opportunity for career progression and helping people to develop the skills to progress
- filling existing skills gaps with new and existing talent
- developing skills for future roles
In addition, in the shorter term, spanning 1-3 years, concerns were raised about the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on the sector, on jobs, and investment and financial security. Geopolitics, potential war, and health, wellbeing and safety, were also raised as issues.
”We may not yet know what engineering of the future will look like, how innovation will transform our world, or what the expanding frontiers of science will reveal next, but whatever the impact, the essential and ever-present element is people; professionals working at the highest levels to innovate, adapt and find solutions” commented Gwynne Lewis, Chief Executive of the IMarEST.
With regards to environment, IMareST members identified the following challenges:
- Managing energy and fuel transition
- Managing emissions
- Meeting regulations and legislation
- Achieving net zero
- Climate change
- Skilling up the renewables and offshore wind sector
”One of the biggest challenges we all face is the balance of sustainable change with commercial needs. Short-term gains versus the longer term aims often see us defaulting to the short-term priorities. We can see this reflected in the results of the survey where challenges relating to people outweigh environmental issues in the short-term.” said Alastair Fischbacher, 119th IMarEST President.
Challenges related directly to technology increased slightly over the medium to long term and included topics such as:
- The impact of AI
- The introduction of autonomous vessels
- Tackling security and cyber-crime issues
”COVID created a huge foundation for change and has shown us that we can adapt and do many things that were previously thought impossible, including working from home, relying on technology for effective communication, co-working, and much more. We should be emboldened by this and use the experience as a basis from which to learn.” highlighted Kevin Daffey, Chair of the IMarEST Board of Trustees.