Promoting diversity in shipping will help make the industry more appealing to young adults and adolescents, according to a digital maritime training expert.
Companies looking to attract a new generation of seafarers and onshore workers should market the sector – which today celebrates World Maritime Day – as a progressive, exciting field that is open to people from all cultures and backgrounds, Nigel Cleave, Senior Advisor at OneLearn Global, believes.
“The wheels of global trade will grind to a halt if we can’t bring in new recruits over the coming years to man our ships or to work in shore-based operations,” said Mr Cleave, whose company provides eLearning training courses to the global maritime industry.
“Shipping accounts for 90% of all goods transported around the world, so we have to develop a talent pipeline to maintain supply chains and global trade.”
One way to attract new talent is to create digital training courses and promotional content featuring people from a variety of backgrounds, Mr Cleave said. He believes videos and animations that highlight the diverse nationalities, ethnicities and cultures within the industry will appeal to younger people considering their career options.
“When it comes to choosing a career, people are generally more likely to opt for a sector where they feel represented,” Mr Cleave said.
Mr Cleave’s comments come on World Maritime Day, which OneLearn Global, part of the Fameline Holding Group, will mark by lighting up its headquarters in Cyprus to pay tribute to seafarers around the world.
This year’s World Maritime Day theme ‘Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future’ highlights the valuable role that crew members play amid fears of a looming skills gap.
A recent report by BIMCO and the International Chamber of Shipping warns of a serious shortage of officers by 2026 unless shipping companies significantly increase training and recruitment.
An additional 89,510 officers will be needed within the next five years to operate the world merchant fleet, the report predicts – making it vital that shipping companies recruit and train fresh talent, while reskilling the existing workforce.
OneLearn Global is helping on the training front, by providing visually striking, bite-sized courses that can be completed anytime and from anywhere.
“Our extensive, ever-growing catalogue of eLearning programmes offers a range of vibrant courses that cover the entire spectrum of subjects needed for operating a vessel safely and securely,” Mr Cleave said. “Our innovative approach to maritime training is extremely popular with Generation Z (people born after 1996), who all expect digital, interactive and personalised content in today’s tech-driven world.”
Senior officers and crew with several years’ experience in the maritime sector have also shown a great appetite for OneLearn’s informative and entertaining course modules, which typically take 15–20 minutes to complete.