Our coasts and seas have the potential to deliver growth and jobs in the coming years. In order to achieve blue growth, highly qualified and skilled professionals are needed. Yet many blue economy sectors are experiencing difficulties in finding the right employees – and most sectors expect these difficulties to continue in the near future: This is due to:
Four main actions have been put in place to tackle the skills gap in the blue economy:
1. Blue careers in Europe call for proposals
The Blue careers projects (European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) work programme 2016, EUR 3.452.000) aim to establish platforms for cooperation between business and education at local/regional or transnational level to develop and implement concrete actions to close the skills gap, tackle the unemployment challenge and raise the attractiveness of "blue careers" among students.
Seven projects covering both higher education and vocational training have been selected and have started at the beginning of 2017.
2. Blueprint on sectorial skills cooperation for the maritime technology sector
"A new skills agenda for Europe" was launched in June 2016 and aims to make sure that people develop the skills necessary for the jobs of today and tomorrow, contributing to growth across the EU.Among the 10 concrete measures supporting the implementation of the skills agenda for Europe is the blueprint for sectoral skills cooperation.
The maritime technology sector has been identified with other 5 sectors to pilot this initiative. The European maritime technology industry is a world leader in terms of innovation and key enabler, providing the more advanced technologies and structures needed to ensure the development of all maritime activities, such as offshore renewable energies or aquaculture.
Over the last decade the sector has radically changed and diversified passing from classical steel-intensive ship types to building the most complex and advanced technologies and vessels. The sector is one of the most research intensive ones in Europe, with 9% of its GDP invested in RDI and it is continuously innovating and diversifying into new activities. The industry is providing the technologies and vessels to enable a sustainable and safe development of the emerging blue economy: offshore wind, ocean energy, marine biotechnology, aquaculture, deep sea exploration and surveillance.
This demands new skills in highly specialised niche sectors. The blueprint serves as a framework to develop a comprehensive strategy and concrete actions at European level with an action plan to be then implemented at national/regional level. It is organised into 3 phases:
3. Expert group on "Skills and career development in the blue economy"
The expert group is composed of 40 experts and will support the European Commission to develop a skills policy for the marine and maritime sectors. The group will also give advice on education, training, skills and career development within the blue economy. The group representatives cover different sectors of the blue economy (shipping, shipbuilding, tourism, ocean energy, aquaculture, fisheries, marine biotechnology, etc.) and represent different sea basins.
All information related to the expert group, including the minutes of the meetings, are public and can be accessed through the Maritime Forum.
4. Ocean literacy
Horizon 2020 has allocated funding for two projects to boost ocean literacy:
Other projects also contribute to ocean literacy such as:
Press release: Ten actions to help equip people in Europe with better skills
New agenda for skills: frequently asked questions
Study: Green Jobs in the Blue Economy – A Bottom-up Approach
European Atlas of the Seas
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EMODnet’s new World Base Layer Service (EBWBL) provides a fast and easy access to worldwide bathymetric information, enabling marine knowledge users including industry, scientists, coastal managers, students and the general public, to access high-resolution representations of seabed features from their own computer.
Although the European Maritime Day (EMD) 2020 Conference (foreseen to be held in Cork, Ireland) had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis and the related social distancing measures, our EMD In My Country partners managed to organise many open air or virtual events.
On 25 June, 2020, the European Commission organised an online outermost regions webinar with the participation of representatives from the EU’s nine outermost regions. Discussions focused on blue economy development and recovery measures taken by the EU due to the COVID-19 crisis, such as state aid measures and dedicated support from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).