The blue economy has been changing over the last decade. It now implies modern goods and services from technologically advanced and innovation-oriented industry. Sectors like offshore wind, ocean energy, shipbuilding or marine biotechnology offer at present highly specialized niches of employment and are in search of suitable personnel.
Matching this demand with an adequate offer will be key to maintaining the industry’s competitive edge. That is why Commission funding is now going into encouraging cooperation between the education and the business worlds, which need to talk to each other more and multiply learning opportunities and out-of-classroom experiences for students. Other grants aim at restoring the image of maritime professions and raising the public appeal of careers at sea, as the many-faceted blue economy offers a multitude of different jobs in as many different sectors.
Another good way to move forward is observing and describing the good practices already going on all over the EU, which the Commission has done with the help of 40 experts. The result is a unique inventory of real-life innovative approaches to tackle the skills issues. 15 projects increase cooperation between business and education, 14 expand ocean literacy and 13 create new opportunities for life-long learning and mobility. The three small booklets and the 42 stories show incontestably that bridging the gap between education offer and labour market needs is possible - and that Europe is doing it.