The Commission published its Labour Market Intelligence Report to help identify skills gaps in the maritime sector. The report contains information that is set to guide the Commission’s Scheme of Work and is a core part of delivering the Department for Transport’s Maritime 2050 strategy.

Initial projects under the Scheme include a seafarer cadet review; future workforce research and early meeting for exporters and the Department of International Trade to discuss ‘increased exports of maritime education and training’.

Key findings of the report include:

  • The only part of the maritime sector with pressing short-term issues which hinder growth is the building side of the marine leisure sector;
  • The Merchant Navy Cadet programme must be re-evaluated;
  • Automation requires new skills and recommends that the Commission has a strong idea of what it hopes to achieve by avoiding approaching the topic without focus;
  • The skills gap in engineering has never been clearly defined and efforts to encourage young people into STEM subjects is not working. It recommends that the Commission must do more to understand this problem.

See also: Seven career paths to choose in oil and gas

The Commission was always a critical element of Maritime 2050, but now, following coronavirus, its role is even more pivotal, and urgent. The Commission is a true embodiment of the kind of partnership between industry and government that we need to enhance the UK’s position as a world-class maritime nation,

...said Harry Theochari, Chair of Maritime UK.

Recommendations and supporting actions

  1. If the Commission wants to help companies to see skills problems in the round, it could publish practical guidance, perhaps with a title like "What can you do about Hard to Fill vacancies?
  2. Should the Commission decide that it wants to publish "think pieces" to stimulate debate, an early topic might be to challenge traditional thinking about recruitment, perhaps with a provocative title like "Do you really need a master mariner for this role?"
  3. The Commission should create, maintain and provide access to an online library of labour market reports.
  4. The Commission should encourage others who initiate research in future to make contact at an early stage for mutual gain.
  5. The Commission  should consider whether or not to give priority to defining the sector in statistical terms.