The UK Government has announced an extra £550m in funding for maritime skills to help avoid a 'Brexit race to the bottom'.
Some £250,000 will go to the Careers Promotion Forum, a single industry body for regulatory adherence, co-ordination and promotion of the maritime sector, and £300,000 for the nascent Maritime Skills Commission announced in January as part of the Maritime 2050 long-term policy plan.
The Maritime Skills Commission is intended to bring experts together to report on the existing and future skills needs of the industry on a five-yearly cycle.
Roger Hargreaves, director of Maritime at the Department for Transport (DfT) spoke on behalf of Shipping Minister Nusrat Ghani, who was ordered to Westminster to help Prime Minister Boris Johnson prorogue Parliament.
'We want to be clear with recruits to the sector about the skills and training they need for a long-term career in the maritime sector - and to give people a strong sense that if they are in maritime now their future is in the maritime sector,' Mr Hargreaves told an audience gathered at Trinity House for the Maritime Skills Alliance reception at London International Shipping Week on Monday 9 September 2019.
The challenge now for our industry is to make even more use of what is available. We don't spend all the money on Smart; We don't take up all the apprenticeships - and we must
Mr Hargreaves said it was important to get questions of welfare right and not be engaged in the race to a 'Brexit Bottom' on skills.
'Every workplace is understanding more about looking after its people,' he said. 'We need to have strong principals and clear expectations on how people are treated within the maritime sector.'
Other training and skills funding announced by DfT this year includes a £100,000 grant to the 1831 fund, a think tank on defence and security administered by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI); £40,000 to Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) to roll out a shipping programme in secondary schools; and £40,000 for the 'Maritime and Me' diversity research project.
'The challenge now for our industry is to make even more use of what is available. We don't spend all the money on Smart; We don't take up all the apprenticeships - and we must. We have to ensure money is being spent well. We have to ensure the UK is on the front foot,' Mr Hargreaves said.
Due to Ms Ghani's absence a planned launch of the 'route map' on how Maritime UK plans to achieve the 'people' requirements under Maritime 2050 will be launched this Thursday 12 September.