Latest News

Developing up to date retention data for the maritime industry

Aidan Carroll is currently undertaking an MSc in International Shipping, after graduating with a BSc Navigation and Maritime Science first class with honours, at the University of Plymouth. Aidan is also working towards my Officer of Watch Unlimited Licence, oh, and representing Gibraltar in Butterfly, as part of the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

As part of his master's thesis, Aidan is exploring and developing data relating to he retention of British seafarers working with the maritime sector. Retention is a complex topic with individuals having different points of attrition towards leaving a life at sea. To encapsulate this better, he is conducting a survey as well as looking for participants for focus groups which would be conducted via video call. If you do have a spare 10 minutes, would you mind filling out Aidan's survey which can be accessed in the following link below.

It goes without saying, that such data is of great relevance to all of us concerned with recruitment, skills and development. Therefore, I urge all MSA members and partners to take part in this important and valuable piece of work. Please also share across your links. Oh, and lets cheer him on in the Commonwealth Games.

MSA responds to Transport Select Committee Maritime 2050 inquiry

The Maritime Skills Alliance has submitted evidence to the Transport Select Committee in regard to the impact that the Maritime 2050 strategy has had. The Alliance welcomes the work of the strategy and the level of cohesion that it has stimulated across the wide range of industry bodies and employers who recognise the importance of people and skills issues as being a key factor in achieving the strategies aims. Our feedback did also highlighted the importance of protecting the funding of specialist qualifications that are used by our sector.

We have now been invited to provide face to face evidence on Wednesday May 25th.

May 2022

Maritime Skills Alliance - evidence to the Transport Select Committee - Maritime 2050

SQA reviews the Level 3 Diploma in Shipping and Maritime Occupations

SQA is reviewing the Level 3 Diploma in Shipping and Maritime Occupations, both deck and engine versions (GA6G 57 & GA6F 57) and the Scottish equivalent, the National Certificate in Shipping and Maritime Operations at SCQF Level 6 (G9GW 46).

They are all widely used for pre-cadetship programmes, but they were designed a decade or so ago. Are they doing the job they are now used for? Could they do more, eg by preparing the way for other occupations? Shajan Lukose from Fleetwood Nautical Campus is managing the review for SQA and plans to contact every centre currently offering these qualifications. If you are not on the current centre list and want to talk to him anyway, please get in touch.

There's more information here: Diploma Review briefing paper.

December 2019

MSA welcomes next steps on the Maritime Skills Commission

The Maritime Skills Alliance is very pleased with the Government’s announcements this week about the Maritime Skills Commission.

Chairman Bill Walworth said: “This is really good news. The Government has taken on to the next stage the ambitions it set in its Maritime 2050 strategy, so we can start turning those ambitions into real value.

I’m also very pleased to see the work of the MSA recognised in a commitment that we will be part of the small group charged with shaping the Commission.

More ... Press Release on the MSC.

More ... Iain Mackinnon's speech to the Maritime 50 Symposium.

Iain Mackinnon blogs for Maritime UK on investing in home-grown talent

In a blog for Maritime UK, Iain Mackinnon, Secretary to the Maritime Skills Alliance, argues that we "need to make the case for both immigration and investment in home-grown talent". Iain is also Secretary to Maritime UK's People and Skills Forum.

Read Iain's blog in full here.

"Inspiring the Future Mariner" conference, 14 May 2018

We were delighted to work with Trinity House in organising this conference, which asked whether everything we do together to attract talented school children to the sector is enough, and what else we could do. We had some great speakers, and a good discussion, and terrific hospitality, as ever, from Trinity House.

Click on the link for Averil Macdonald's slides (1.0MB) and Cath Longhurst's slides (5.5MB).

Click on the link for the Conference report (3 pages).

MSA responds to DfT’s Maritime 2050 ‘Call for Evidence’

In welcoming the Department’s initiative, the MSA urged DfT to be more specific in setting ambitions for the UK’s maritime sector. On the skills side, for example, they might include these:

  • To be consistently rated by companies the best in the world for the quality of our training for Merchant Navy cadets and officers, and for professional development.
  • To be consistently rated by owners and managers, worldwide, as providing the best-trained superyacht crew
  • To be the leading provider in the internationally-mobile training market (as evidenced by both reputation and earnings)

We also made the case for strategic investment in skills for the long-term benefit of the UK.

MSA response to the 'Maritime 2050' Call for Evidence.

May 2018

The MSA publishes its evidence on the potential impact of Brexit on skills

The MSA has responded to the Migration Advisory Committee’s “call for evidence” about the potential impact of Brexit on skills.

Acknowledging that much still remains unclear the MSA emphasised three main points:

1. The extent of employment of EU27 nationals varies a good deal across the maritime sector, but is substantial in some parts.

2. For many maritime companies, particularly in the shipping sector, employment of non-EU labour is at least as important, and often more important, than employment of EU27 employees.

3. The superyacht sector’s main concern is about ensuring the continuing ability of British crew to win and retain work within the rest of the EU.

Click the link for the full text of the MSA's evidence paper.

October 2017

The Maritime Minister calls on companies to double the number of apprentices they employ

John Hayes was speaking at the Maritime Skills Alliance's reception for London International Shipping Week, held at Trinity House. He said:

Let’s not think in terms of modest incremental increases, but rise to the challenge of doubling the number of apprenticeships offered.

I want the Board of every maritime business, whether they pay the Levy or not, to discuss how apprenticeships can help them succeed by growing the next generation of talent.

The Minister was launching "Maritime Apprenticeships: your future, their future, our future", a booklet jointly published by the Department for Transport and industry lead body Maritime UK.

Click here for the full Press Release - Apprenticeships booklet.

Click here for the Apprenticeships booklet itself.

MSA responds to the Government's Industrial Strategy consultation

The MSA has welcomed the Government's initiative and made a number of proposals in our response to its Industrial Strategy green paper.

1 The maritime sector offers excellent prospects for growth, so we are actively supporting the work which Maritime UK is leading to put together a Sector Deal for the maritime sector.

2 As one of the most international sectors in the economy, we will flourish best within a regulatory regime which recognises that reality, and which helps us to build on its strengths. In a modern economy “brightest and best” means much more than the academic elite, and the UK’s visa policy should reflect that.

3 We applaud the Government’s support for technical education, but with apprenticeship policy settling down at last we are anxious to avoid a further protracted period of disruption as technical education is reformed.

4 We very much value the maritime clusters round our shores, but we also want to make sure that where national arrangements make more sense, policy should allow for them.

The full text is here: response to the Industrial Strategy green paper.

MSA response to the Maritime Growth Study Review, Feb 2017

The MSA has responded to the parallel calls for evidence from the Department for Transport and the Transport Select Committee, both of which are reviewing the Maritime
Growth Study.

In our evidence we say that with the spotlight now very clearly on exports in the wake of the referendum to leave the EU, we think it would be right to add a recommendation around exporting our world-renowned expertise in maritime training.

Read our full evidence (3pp) here: MSA response to the Maritime Growth Study Review February 2017

MSA raises questions about the role of qualifications in apprenticeships

The MSA is concerned that the Government’s approach to the place of qualifications in apprenticeships risks confusing employers and disadvantaging apprentices.

We therefore responded in detail to the draft Strategic Guidance published by the new Institute for Apprenticeships, which starts work in April as an arms-length body created by the Department for Education. The IfA proposed a number of “core principles”, one of which is that “an apprenticeship … is a recognised ‘accreditation’ ”. We commented that while we see the merit in the IfA’s ambition, we worry that it is premature to apply it quite so comprehensively at this early stage. The IfA risks confusing employers and disadvantaging apprentices whose ‘accreditation’ is still poorly understood in the labour market.

Our full response is here: MSA response to the IfA's Strategic Guidance January 2017.

Maritime Growth Study

The MSA has welcomed the Maritime Growth Study with a Press Release pointing to the fact that nine of the 18 recommendations relate to skills and education. They were always in the brief, but Lord Mountevans has given skills much more prominence in the final report, and we are delighted to see it. We have also said that we are keen to use our expertise, reach and contacts to support next steps.