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Future-proof skills for the maritime transport sector

In a retrospective of the SkillSea project, which ran from 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2023, SkillSea undertook a comprehensive effort to address specific challenges within the maritime transport sector. These challenges included the shortage of maritime professionals, changing skills requirements due to digitalisation and environmentally conscious transport, limited mobility between land and on-board positions, and inadequate stakeholder cooperation on skills requirements.

Specialised research institutions in the consortium thoroughly investigated the developments and trends regarding the sector's current and future skills needs, the required adaptation of occupational profiles and the need to develop new ones. This resulted in several research reports and subsequent recommendations for educational development.

The Maritime Education and Training (MET) providers in SkillSea focused on developing seven highly relevant exemplary educational packages as a complete template, including a guide for their development and a train-the-trainer package. With the close cooperation between all partners and with the content notably reviewed by the social partners within SkillSea, the final Strategy document, containing the key findings for the promotion of mobility, career attractiveness and training in futureproof skills of maritime professionals, was developed.

An essential element in the strategy is the establishment of the Maritime Education and Training Network (MET-NET): a new collaboration of currently 11 MET providers in Europe) and the development of the European Maritime Skills Forum (E-MSF): a new multi-stakeholder-wide forum in the area of maritime education and training. Finally, an action plan was developed to implement the overall SkillSea results into the policies and daily practice of the stakeholder categories involved.

Main SkillSea results

The concrete results of SkillSea are described in separate deliverables.

The most important results are:

- Seven educational packages (in the area of digital skills, green skills, leadership, STEM and intrapreneurship & innovation) combined with a trainer-the-trainer package, a Toolbox for developing custom-made and further educational packages and a guide for their implementation (including videos).

- Five innovative tools were developed together with training videos: the Stakeholder Cooperation for MET Tool, a Strategic Evaluation MET tool, the Shipping Employability AHP-based Anticipating Tool and the Strategic Direction Location Tool, ) as well as the Transfer International Tool, aiming at supporting, among others, the strategic internationalisation, strategic cooperation and strategic evaluation process of MET providers, maritime professionals and other maritime stakeholders.

- A strategy document (as a summary and in full) describing the key findings of SkillSea, the project's conclusions and a wide range of concrete policy recommendations for future activities and initiatives.

- MET-NET: this cooperative structure will strongly support providing high-quality maritime education and training in the coming years.

- E-MSF: this multi-stakeholder cooperation between MET providers and MET stakeholders aims to increase the transfer of knowledge and experience between MET and the wider industry to promote the use of SkillSea tools and educational instruments and perpetuate the impact that the SkillSea project has initiated.

The project was developed by the industry’s social partners, the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and was comprised of a consortium from national maritime authorities, shipping companies, shipowners’ associations, maritime trade unions and maritime education providers from 15 countries in Europe.


This project has received funding from the European Union's Erasmus+ programme under grant agreement 2018 – 3387/ 001- 001 (Project number 601186)

"The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein".

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