Marlow Navigation India participated at the Future Skills Maritime (FSM) conference held in South Goa on the 17th and 18th of March.
The conference brought together leading figures from across the Indian maritime industry to discuss key challenges, mainly driven by the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, advancements in digitalisation, and decarbonisation.
Top of the agenda was creating a sustainable future for shipping. A number of important topics were covered for this, including: enhancing the image of the seafaring profession; retaining and attracting new talent; creating career paths; and the assessment of existing human resources and how maritime education and training can both meet the present skills gap and stay ahead of the curve.
“Seafaring has long been associated with the romance of adventure, but also has the practicalities and rewards of a stable, well-paid job. This is still very relevant and true today, especially in developing countries where the bulk of seafarers come from,” said Managing Director, Marlow Navigation India, Wilson Mascarenhas during his panel discussion on day two.
“As an industry, we need to continue to enhance the image of our profession. It must also be a dynamic process, evolving to cater to the present and future situation; that is, the demands of new generations, their expectations and mindset,” he continued.
“The good news is our industry is going through a major transformation, such as with digitalisation and the green transition. These are all much higher on the agenda for younger generations when considering a career, because they are exciting areas to be involved in, have lots of opportunities, and also very much in line with their values.”
Research on future skills was another hot topic discussed at the conference, with fundamental changes in the job market coming due to a number of powerful drivers. While many studies focus on the changes brought through digital technologies, they relate future skills directly to digital skills, which - as important as they are - only represent one side of the future skill coin.
According to many in the industry, future employees no longer want to wait for maritime colleges to offer the right courses. While some institutes have started subjects on such new technologies, they lack on relevant content and lab environments to develop the required skills. Other main areas where many institutions are lacking include: academic infrastructure, guidance, industry and practical exposure, foundation knowledge on new technologies, proper assessment certification, among other.
“Seafarer education and training must continue to progress at pace, remaining up-to-date with latest industry advancements, in both technologies and methodologies, whilst providing seafarers with the necessary knowledge and skills of the future,” says Marlow’s Training Director from group head office in Cyprus, Joern Clodius. “Regulation also plays a big part in driving such important change.”
“Beyond this, we must be consciousness and active in continuing to nurture and develop other important areas, such as soft and personal skills, and of course seamanship,” he added.