In an aim to plug the shortfall in numbers of British seafarers, the UK Chamber of Shipping and the Merchant Navy Training Board, on September 13th, launched a campaign to boost the number of young people entering maritime careers, as part of their 'Careers At Sea' campaign.
An ageing population and growth in the global shipping industry has led to an increased demand for British seafarers, and the campaign will highlight the diverse range of professional opportunities available to young people who choose to enter the UK’s most international sector.
The short film, titled To Sea or Not to Sea, was produced by ITN Studios and will be promoted across social media in an effort to raise awareness of the maritime sector.
The campaign coincides with activity by the Chamber to encourage the government to double its contribution to maritime training, from £15m per annum to £30m. The new scheme, called SMarT (Support for Maritime Training) Plus, would see industry match any government contribution to seafarer training as well as guaranteeing a job for newlytrained cadets for a minimum of one year.
A recent study, conducted by the Chamber, pointed to the shortfall of British seafarers that the industry may have to face, and the campaign represents an effort to address this issue head on.
Data in the study show that for every pound spent by the Government on SMarT between 2011/12 and 2015/16, the UK economy has benefited by £4.8, and that for every job created in the maritime sector, five are created elsewhere in the country.
The UK’s seafarer population is ageing. If the UK does not respond with positive measures to ensure that employment prospects for its seafarers remain strong, it will lose its pool of talent and expertise.
And the industry is facing increasing competition from elsewhere. Other maritime centres, most notably Hong Kong and Singapore, are actively seeking to attract maritime business. Countries whose living costs are lower than the UK’s are training seafarers to the required international standards who can work on UK ships.