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Skills and career development in the blue economy

Our coasts and seas have the potential to deliver sustainable growth and jobs in the coming years. A competitive, resilient and socially fair blue economy needs highly qualified and skilled professionals. Many blue economy sectors have difficulties to find the right people. The current situation, e.g. COVID-19, increases the challenges even more.

Acknowledged areas of concern are:

  • skills gap between education offer and labour market needs is even more accentuated by the twin digital and climate transitions;
  • lack of communication and cooperation between education and industry;
  • lack of attractiveness and awareness of career opportunities in the blue economy;
  • lack of ocean literacy culture at the basis of it all.

Actions put in place to tackle these concerns:

1. Blue careers in Europe call for proposals

The blue careers project aim to establish platforms for cooperation between business and education, at local/regional or transnational level. It aims to develop and implement concrete actions to close the skills gap, tackle the unemployment challenge and raise the attractiveness of "blue careers" among students.

With the last “Call for proposals on Blue Careers”, eight projects have been selected. The new 'blue career' projects will work towards enhancing career opportunities in the maritime economy, while the 'blue labs' projects will focus on young researchers helping them to bring research results to the market.

Building on lessons learned, a new call is foreseen for 2021.

2. Blueprint on sectorial skills cooperation for the maritime technology sector

The European maritime technology industry is a world leader in terms of innovation and key enabler. It provides the more advanced technologies and structures needed to ensure the development of all maritime activities, such as offshore renewable energy, shipbuilding or aquaculture. It also figures among the industrial ecosystems for recovery, identified recently in the new ‘European Skills Agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience’ published on 1st July 2020.

Back in June 2016 the Commission launched the "new skills agenda for Europe" to make sure that people develop the skills necessary for the jobs of today and tomorrow, contributing to growth across the EU. The “blueprint for sectoral skills cooperation” was one of the 10 concrete measures to support the implementation of this skills agenda for Europe. The maritime technology sector has been selected as one of the identified sectors to pilot this initiative.

The sector has radically changed and diversified over the last decade, passing from classical steel-intensive ship types to building the most complex and advanced technologies and vessels. It is currently one of the most research-intensive sectors in Europe (9% of its GDP invested in RDI). The industry is continuously innovating and diversifying into new activities. It also provides the technologies and vessels to enable a sustainable and safe development of the blue economy, e.g. offshore wind, ocean energy, marine biotechnology, aquaculture, deep-sea exploration and surveillance. At the same time, it also updates traditional shipping techniques in response to sustainability and climate change criteria.

To consider the needs of the sector in the future, particularly in the shipbuilding and offshore renewable energy production value chains, the dedicated Blueprint project MATES is attempting to provide useful insights in terms of skills needs and gaps.

more information

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Expert group on the skills and career development in the Blue economy

The meeting aimed to drive forward and get an input from experts for each of the 3 subgroups, created as a result of the kick-off meeting on 1 June 2017: 1) Business-education cooperation, 2) Ocean literacy and 3) Lifelong learning, mobility and education programs

Start date: 07/02/2018 - 23:00
Last update: 16/08/18

Kick-off meeting of the expert group on skills and career development in the blue economy

Purpose of the meeting: to kick-off the work of the newly established expert group on skills and career development in the blue economy. On his occasion, experts will know each other and will a first brainstorming session on the key topics to be dealt with in the coming years

Start date: 01/06/2017 - 00:00
Last update: 01/02/18

2017 BLACK SEA STAKEHOLDER CONFERENCE ON BLUE ECONOMY, 15 September 2017, Batumi (Georgia)

4th annual high-level stakeholder conference

Start date: 15/09/2017 - 00:00
Last update: 20/12/17

Blue Economy Business awards 2016

The Blue Economy BusinessAwards recognise and reward individuals or organisations who have made a specific contribution to bringing and developing innovation in the Blue Economy. The Awards were set up to showcase success stories from the EU and beyond that demonstrate how new applications from marine research can produce jobs and growth in the marine economy. 3 award categories: - Blue Economy Business of the Year - Woman of the Year in the Blue Economy - Rising Blue Star of the Year (up to 35 years old)

Start date: 12/09/2016 - 19:30
Last update: 11/05/19

Blue Economy Business & Science Forum 2016

The Blue Economy Business & Science Forum is a new initiative that was announced in the Communication on innovation in the blue economy in 2014 and officially launched during the EMD conference in Piraeus in 2015. The first summit took place in Hamburg on 12-13 September 2016, and we plan to hold a summit in a different EU country every year.

Start date: 12/09/2016 (All day)
Last update: 25/10/16

Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Ministerial Conference on Blue Economy, 17 November 2015

Over 100 participants from 33 countries, including about a dozen Ministers/State Secretaries, as well as Commissioners Johannes Hahn and Karmenu Vella met in Brussels for the first Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Ministerial Conference on Blue Economy.

Last update: 01/02/18

BLUEMED High-level Conference - 16 October at Pavillion Aquae – Expo Venice, Venice, Italy

The BLUEMED initiative (as part of the Marine Research and Innovation agenda) represents a huge effort to create coherence amongst marine research and innovation priorities at EU, sea basin and national levels and to mainstream blue growth objectives into the relevant instruments. The BLUEMED initiative will be endorsed by nine EU Member States (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece and Cyprus) on 16 October in Venice, in the presence of Commissioner Moedas.

Start date: 16/10/2015 - 00:00
Last update: 01/02/18

Knowledge Innovation Communities and the blue economy

A number of Knowledge Innovation Communities have been set up or are in the process of being set up that aim to improve the link between education and research. A study has analysed how these Communities can help create innovation in the blue economy.

Last update: 01/02/18

Knowledge Innovation Communities and Blue Growth

Knowledge Innovation Communities aim to ensure that the three sides of the knowledge triangle – education, research, industry - work together on a common challenge to create the innovation that Europe needs to create jobs and growth. How can they support blue growth?

Last update: 01/10/14

Communication and Stakeholder Involvement / Communication et Implication des Parties Prenantes

Lessons learnt from the PEGASEAS capitalisation project / Les apports du projet de capitalisation PEGASEAS

Last update: 01/02/18

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