To sea or not to sea

The UK Chamber of Shipping and Merchant Navy Training Board have today launched a broadcast quality advert as part of the Careers At Sea campaign, to boost the number of young people entering maritime careers.

An ageing population and growth in the global shipping industry has led to an increased demand for British seafarers, and the campaign will highlight the diverse range of professional opportunities available to young people who choose to enter the UK’s most international sector.

The short film, was produced by ITN Productions and will be promoted across social media in an effort to raise awareness of the maritime sector.

The campaign coincides with activity by the UK Chamber to encourage the government to double its contribution to maritime training, from £15m per annum to £30m. The new scheme, called SMarT (Support for Maritime Training) Plus, would see industry match any government contribution to seafarer training as well as guaranteeing a job for newly-trained cadets for a minimum of one year.

A recent study conducted by the Chamber pointed to the shortfall of British seafarers that the industry may have to face, and the campaign represents an effort to address this issue head on.

Data in the study show that for every pound spent by the Government on SMarT between 2011/12 and 2015/16, the UK economy has benefited by £4.8, and that for every job created in the maritime sector, five are created elsewhere in the country.

The UK’s seafarer population is ageing. If the UK does not respond with positive measures to ensure that employment prospects for its seafarers remain strong, it will lose its pool of talent and expertise.

And the industry is facing increasing competition from elsewhere. Other maritime centres, most notably Hong Kong and Singapore, are actively seeking to attract maritime business.  Countries whose living costs are lower than the UK’s are training seafarers to the required international standards who can work on UK ships.

Jonathan Roberts, Communications Director at the UK Chamber of Shipping, said:

“This film is the latest example of our determination to raise shipping’s profile.  The industry needs to continuously modernise its communications approach if it is to be relevant to the national media, political and public audiences.

“The UK has a diverse economy, with many industries competing to attract the attention of young talent.  This film is a statement of our ambition, it makes us stand out from the crowd and will help us to find the next generation of world class seafarers.

“It should also be seen in the context of our proposals to increase government funding for seafarer training.  We are doing our bit to promote a career at sea, and if government is able to do the same than we can achieve our aim of doubling the number of young people entering the industry.”

Kathryn Neilson, Director of the Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB), said:

“We know there are many talented young people in the UK who want a career in the Merchant Navy, but there are many more talented young people out there who we could attract to the industry if only they knew of the opportunities available to them.

“This film marks a shift in our approach. In the months ahead we will dedicate significant resource to targeting social media users, and together with our Careers At Sea Ambassadors who travel the country to speak at careers events, schools and youth groups, we will ensure young people from all backgrounds, and all corners of the UK, are able to see the vast opportunities a career at sea can provide.”

The film was funded by the Maritime Educational Foundation with support from Maersk and the Port of Felixstowe.