A provider of maritime training in the UK, Clyde Marine Training, have welcomed the statement from the House of Commons Transport Committee that urged the government to address the “looming skills gap” in the UK maritime sector.
Launching the report the committee’s chairwoman Louise Ellman said: “The government’s new maritime strategy poses the right questions about UK shipping but does not yet provide compelling answers on a range of key points that will have a major impact on this valuable sector of our economy.
In particular, it is unclear how the government plans to address the looming skills gap whereby the U.K. will have 5,000 fewer deck and engineering officers than the U.K.’s maritime sector is predicted to require by 2021.”
“Unless action is taken to address this key challenge, valuable maritime businesses may either have to rely on foreign recruits or opt to move overseas”.
Managing Director of Clyde Marine Training, Colin McMurray, welcomed the report and commented “We’ve spent many years now working closely with employers, industry bodies, nautical colleges and of course students and trainees because this skills shortage is not news to anyone involved in the industry. We are very pleased to hear the Committee chairwoman make that statement, it echoes what ourselves and many others in the industry have been saying for a number of years. A lot of work has been done to attract young people to a career at sea and we’ve seen the numbers of applicants grow every year for over five years now.”
However Colin McMurray offered a word of caution “What mustn’t be allowed to happen though is a fall in quality or shortcuts in training. The U.K. maritime industry is admired throughout the world because of the rigorous training and exacting standards trainees must meet. It would be a big mistake to do anything that changed that. We receive over 1500 applicants a year but only 20% of them will be accepted onto our training programme. We could manage 1,000 more but they have to be good enough, we’d strongly oppose a lowering of standards, that will simply cause greater problems later.”