A Europe-wide consortium has launched the project ‘Futureproof Skills for the Maritime transport sector (SkillSea)’ to address the issue of future skills requirements of the maritime industry.

The four-year project will be co-financed by the European Commission and will begin in January.

The consortium is established by the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF). It is led by the Rotterdam-based STC Group.

The consortium includes 27 maritime authorities, shipping groups, shipowners’ associations, maritime trade unions and maritime education providers from 16 European countries.

The four-year project is designed to develop strategies to discover and meet future skills needs of the maritime sector and attract new people from across Europe to join the sector.

SkillSea aims to outline technological developments in ship operation and their impact on the industry’s skills needs.

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It also intends to ease the mobility of seafaring labour as well as strengthen co-operation between education providers, competent authorities and industry.

“It also intends to ease the mobility of seafaring labour as well as strengthen co-operation between education providers, competent authorities and industry.”

ETF general secretary Eduardo Chagas said: “Europe’s maritime sector is experiencing increased digitalisation and automation. We hope this project will contribute to a smooth transition, support high-quality employment and training for European maritime professionals, and guarantee the sustainability of maritime clusters in Europe.

“We also aim to attract greater 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 long and rewarding maritime careers, not only on-board ships but also in the shore-side clusters that support the seagoing industry and are a significant source of jobs throughout Europe.”

ETF is a trade union organisation that represents the trade unions from the European Union, European Economic Area, and Central and Eastern European countries.