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Seafarers UK launches new theme for Seafarers Awareness Week (20-26 June 2016)

Posted on: 2 February 2016

Announcing the theme ‘Maritime Jobs for Future Generations’, Seafarers UK has launched its Seafarers Awareness Week 2016 campaign, with the focus on promoting maritime career opportunities, both at sea and ashore.

Seafarers Awareness Week 2016 takes place from June 20 to 26 throughout the UK. It aims to build on the success of last year’s awareness-raising campaign, which saw more than one hundred businesses and organisations support the annual initiative.

Seafarers Awareness Week provides a platform for events and activities around the UK, combining a host of local media opportunities, with industry and individuals working together to raise the profile of seafaring and maritime jobs at sea and ashore.

Addressing the official Seafarers Awareness Week launch event at Trinity House in London, which was attended by 125 maritime guests, Commodore Barry Bryant CVO RN, Director General of Seafarers UK, underlined the importance of the whole sector working together to showcase the maritime world: ‘Many of you will be all too aware of the phrase ‘sea blindness’, and the tendency of the Great British public to be blissfully unaware of the fact that we remain an island nation, or that 95% of our trade comes by sea. Our 2016 campaign will be focused on young people and making them aware of the career opportunities available in seagoing and the maritime industries more generally.’

After reminding the gathering of the wide range of the charity’s welfare work, Commodore Bryant continued: ‘As far as Seafarers UK is concerned, working with young people and promoting the maritime careers message is a very strong theme to add to our general awareness campaigning. Maritime is a great story, but too much time is spent preaching to the converted. We need to bring all the various initiatives together, reach out beyond our sometimes introspective world, and we now really hope that the UK Maritime Growth Study will be that catalyst. I am sure that many of our organisations contributed to the study, and it was good to see that over half the recommendations referred, in broad terms, to people – the need for them, what the industries should be offering them, the skills they need, and how we get all this across to them. Despite it being a global industry, it is absolutely essential that we maintain a strong cadre of UK seafarers.’

Commodore Bill Walworth CBE RFA, Chairman of the Maritime Skills Alliance* added: ‘The Maritime Skills Alliance sets and promotes skills standards for the UK’s maritime sector. Much of our work to date has been devoted to developing a suite of interlocking standards and qualifications which enable employees to progress both within their specialism and between sectors. The Maritime Growth Study’s aim is to increase the UK share of the global market, increasing the size of the UK flag and the service sector, including ship management, brokerage, insurance, law and accountancy. The amount of seaborne trade is set to double by 2030. 113,000 UK people are directly employed in the sector and this grows to 240,000 if you add ports, shipping and business services. The Department for Transport forecasts a shortfall of around 3,500 trained UK Deck and Engineer Officers at sea by 2021 and these are needed not just at sea but in the service sector, where qualified seafarers will continue to be in demand.’

The industry has welcomed the strong focus on skills in the UK Maritime Growth Study report published in September 2015, with nine of the 18 recommendations relating to skills and education.

Commodore Walworth continued: ‘The Maritime Growth Study recommendations very much align with the Seafarers Awareness Week theme and the ambition of Seafarers UK to get everyone to understand that we are a maritime nation, to make sure we have the skills to excel, and to make sure that the next generation sees the terrific range of career opportunities. There is much more to be done to align the good work going on around us, but we are making progress. The Maritime Skills Alliance is delighted to have Seafarers UK giving the industry a lead via Seafarers Awareness Week.’

Seafarers Awareness Week will, as in previous years, be a pan-sector campaign, promoting the Royal Navy and the commercial fishing industry, as well as all branches of the Merchant Navy, including passenger vessels, plus workboats and superyachts. Sponsored this year by Inmarsat, Seafarers Awareness Week will also publicise helpful UK sources of employment information, including Careers at Sea, the Maritime Skills Alliance and Seavision.

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