Maritimes Minister Robert Courts announced government funding for 3 organizations to support projects developing maritime welfare and skills, diversity and careers for seafarers.
Announcing the news at the Mersey Maritime Exchange in Liverpool, the minister also explained how the funding will support a review of the formation of ‘ratings’. This will include roles such as deck, engine room, hospitality and catering in the maritime industry. It will be carried out by the Maritime Skills Commission.
£2.4m will help support green skills, alleviate mental health issues for seafarers and work towards maritime ambition 2050 to expand the diversity of the sector.
The funding is intended to help the maritime sector create a highly skilled and well-supported workforce that people from all walks of life want to join.
As recognized by the government’s Maritime 2050 report and highlighted during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the well-being and mental health of seafarers remains a serious concern. These challenges revealed the need for a better understanding of seafarer welfare issues and the lack of facilities and other support available when needed.
Maritimes Minister Robert Courts said:
Seafarer wellbeing is at the heart of our Maritime 2050 agenda and we know that mental health issues at sea affect thousands of seafarers. We are committed to tackling this issue and creating a diverse, highly skilled and exciting at all levels – from shipbuilders to bosuns.
This funding will help us solve this problem by supporting the excellent work done by charities and social organizations and encouraging new programs.
I am also delighted to launch our roadmap for recovery, which will help build a resilient, innovative and forward-looking maritime sector for generations to come. »
A package of 9 measures to protect seafarers, announced in March, has already set out plans to establish a new framework to improve the long-term working conditions of seafarers, drawn up in consultation with industry and unions .
The UK continued to play a leading role in recognizing existing rights and working with industry and seafarer protection organisations. In addition, industry developed training for mental health awareness that is provided to every new seafarer as part of their mandatory training. This funding aims to raise the profile and improve the delivery of successful programs – small, large, new and existing – to defend the rights of seafarers.
Also launched today (June 23, 2022) is the government’s Maritimes Recovery Roadmap. This brings together the government’s plans to help the sector recover from the impact of the pandemic while maximizing the delivery of Maritime 2050. The report has been developed jointly with industry. It follows the key themes of Maritime 2050, including how we will support our exceptional workforce, stay competitive and drive green growth by delivering innovation and new technologies.
Stuart Rivers, chief executive of the Merchant Navy Welfare Board, said:
This significant investment in the maritime charitable sector is both timely and extremely welcome. The maritime charity sector has supported seafarers through multiple crises over the past 2 years, despite difficult fundraising conditions. Funding from the Department for Transport will provide a real boost to the well-being of seafarers and improve skills and diversity for the entire sector.
The funding will support maritime skills, diversity, careers and wellbeing for seafarers, with £230,000 of funding allocated to Maritime UK to support green skills, ratings review and advance career and diversity plans and an additional £140,000 to the Ormiston Maritime Academy to promote maritime in schools in key target areas for regional growth.
Ben Murray, CEO of Maritime UK, said:
To deliver the vision we have for the UK maritime industry in 2050, we need the best people from all walks of life to deliver fresh thinking on the big issues of our time. It means being an inclusive sector, a sector that invests in its people and prepares for the future.
Maritime UK welcomes that people and skills are at the heart of the government’s maritime recovery roadmap and industry is determined to accelerate its work on priorities such as diversity and green skills. »
Rachel Kitley, Principal of Cowes Enterprise College, part of the Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT), said:
Our Maritime Futures initiative responds to the educational aspirations of the government’s Maritime 2050 strategy. It seamlessly integrates strong disciplinary knowledge with practical maritime projects, raises awareness of the maritime sector, and provides students with meaningful encounters with maritime employers.
We are delighted that the funding from the Department of Transportation allows us to quickly spread this model, especially in coastal communities. Simultaneously, Maritime Futures will help raise the academic standards of students in disadvantaged areas and raise the profile of the maritime industry. »