The key to attracting young people into the seafaring profession is to provide easy access to internet onboard ships, according to speakers at the International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) symposium on maritime education and training.
Themed 'maritime education and training', the symposium addressed the future of maritime education and training and highlighted the means to meet the demands of the shipping industry.
The symposium had speakers from the shipping andmaritime industry and academia who addressed three sessions that covered discussions onopportunities for the young generation in the maritime industry, seafaring as a profession, and developing seafarer skills through quality maritime education and training.
According to Plymouth University Faculty of Business associate dean professor Jingjing Xu, an important issue that needed to be addressed was how to ensure a high proportion of students moved into the maritime professions after completing their maritime training.
Jingjing Xu also highlighted that conditions for seafarers onboard should be made attractive to help tackle the predicted lack of officers and rating.
She also noted that poor internet access onboard ships was the largest disincentive to young people taking up seagoing roles.
The speakers unanimously stressed the need to raise the profile and the image of shipping in general, in order to attract young people into the maritime professions.
The symposium addressed key issues pertaining to training, including training without the required seagoing experience and related problems and causes behind low percentage of women seafarers.
Other issues addressed include ongoing quality assessment of seafarer training courses, as required under IMO's International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).
The symposium concluded that former seafarers needed to be supported into maritime careers onshore including any necessary re-training.
Image:The symposium addressed the future of maritime education and training. Photo: courtesy of International Maritime Organisation (IMO).