Maritime technology sector to set up a European Skills Council

Jerzy Czuczman (second from the left) director of Forum Okretowe among panel speakers. Photo: EP
Jerzy Czuczman (second from the left) director of Forum Okretowe among panel speakers. Photo: European Parliament

On the 1st of March 2016, the SEARICA Intergroup (Seas, Rivers, Islands, Coastal Areas European Parliament Intergroup) – represented by MEPs Gesine Meissner (president of the Intergroup), Sergio Cofferati (vice-chair/maritime industries) and Dariusz Rosati (member of the Intergroup) – hosted an event in the European Parliament entitled “Skills for the future maritime technology” (Final Conference on the EU–funded SEA Europe and IndustriAll Europe project: “Creating a European Skills Council for the Maritime Technology Sector”).

The event was attended by representatives from the European maritime technology sector, including CEOs, HR directors, representatives from trade unions, maritime education and training providers, regional authorities, representatives from the European Commission and Members of the European Parliament.

The European maritime technology sector is innovation-driven industry that encompasses both enterprises involved in the design, construction, maintenance and repair of the most complex and technologically advanced ships, and marine equipment. The sector employs over 900,000 people directly and indirectly and generates an annual turnover of € 91 billion. For Europe, it is one of the sectors with the highest investment intensity in Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) activities.

“The maritime technology industry is an important sector for the industrial modernization of Europe and for achieving the goals of the Europe 2020-Strategy” said Ms Lowri Evans, Director-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. “This industry is strategic for the EU and its full potential needs to be “exploited” to maximize the contribution of the sector for Europe´s Blue Growth”.

Participants in the Conference “Skills for the Future Maritime Technology”. Photo: European Parliament
Participants in the Conference “Skills for the Future Maritime Technology”. Photo: European Parliament

Over the last decade, the European maritime technology sector evolved towards the building and repairing of the most complex and technologically advanced ships, as well as the design of sophisticated technologies and equipment. These complexities require expertise and know-how that today can only be found in Europe. Given the importance of the sector, it is of utmost importance for Europe to retain its competence and skilled people so as to remain competitive versus its global competitors.

Aware of the challenges and risks for the future of the sector and Europe’s growth, and mindful of the recommendations of the LeaderSHIP 2020 sectoral strategy which was adopted by the European Commission and industry stakeholders in February 2013 and endorsed by the European Competitiveness Council in May 2013, the social partners for the Maritime Technology Sector – IndustriAll Europe and Sea Europe – embarked in the creation of a European Skills Council for the sector. The Skills Council will help the Maritime Technology Sector in anticipating the needs for skills more effectively supporting the facilitation of future skills, training and mobility.

The results of the Councils’ work done to date had been featured in the study „Evolution of supply, employment and skills in the European Maritime Technology Sector” and were presented on the 1st of March in the European Parliament.

The representatives of IndustriAll (European Trade Union) and Sea Europe (Ships and Maritime Equipment Association) were participating in the event, among others. Poland was represented by the Solidarity Trade Union (NSZZ Solidarność – social partner) and by the Association of Polish Maritime Industries (Forum Okretowe – employers’ organization). Mr Jerzy Czuczman, director of Forum Okretowe as a panelist was taking an active part in the discussion moderated by Mrs Gesine Meissner, who is currently one of the driving forces of the “Seas and Coastal Areas Intergroup” of the European Parliament.

rel (Sea Europe, IndustriAll), GL

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