This is rarely as clear and important as in the maritime industry. The right skills, competence and knowledge are required in order to succeed.

We need leading educational institutions with quality technical equipment, updated competence among instructors, and digital skills integrated as part of the educational process. This means that the financing of technological and maritime subjects must be strengthened, and the work with collaboration, division of labour and consolidation of educational institutions must continue.

Norway needs a flexible and scalable education system with a focus on both vocational schools and colleges and universities, and with good arrangements for student transfer between institutions.

Operative maritime competence is valuable

Experience-based competence is an important driver for future technology development, innovation, and growth in a world-leading maritime cluster.

Shipowners agree that technical competence and operational experience from sea will be among the most important for them over the next ten years. At the same time, they believe that this competence will be the most difficult to come by.

Strong need for digital competence

In the survey, almost 80 per cent report that IT and digital competence will be most important for their business in the coming years, and 40 per cent believe that this competence will be difficult to acquire.

For many companies, the corona pandemic has contributed to a rapid digitalisation of their business, and many more than in previous surveys now report that they require this expertise.

With a lack of competence comes the risk of under-utilizing the potential that lies in digitisation. It is therefore crucial that digital knowledge and competence are incorporated in the educational process.

Strengthened funding ensures higher quality

In order to maintain quality in higher education, basic funding must be established at the right level. Funding for maritime operational education has been too low for some time. Maritime education must be raised to category C, together with science, technology and fisheries.

The collaborative project MARKOM2020 has over the last ten years played a very important role in raising the quality of maritime education. The project has contributed to the development of a comprehensive educational trajectory from vocational school via bachelor’s and master’s programs to maritime research, with a doctoral program in nautical operations. A long-term continuation of this investment is critical to further strengthening maritime professional and vocational school educations.

Continued need for apprentices and cadets

Companies report that the need for apprentices and cadets will remain unchanged over the next five years. Over 40 per cent of short sea shipping companies believe that there will be an increased need for apprentices and cadets.

Lifelong learning

Both ships and land-based industry are becoming more specialised, and tasks will require competence not necessarily acquired through education or experience. A solid offering of relevant continuing and further education is therefore needed.

Universities and colleges today struggle to offer continuing and further education that satisfies the demands of the business community and individuals for short courses and modules of high academic quality and relevance.

The authorities must ensure quality solutions and incentives for both institutions and companies to prioritise continuing and further education

The Norwegian Shipowners’ Association encourages the authorities to:

  • Place maritime education in cost category C in the financing model
  • Ensure strengthening of the Nautical Operations Research program by awarding permanent PhD chairs
  • Continue to improve the quality of maritime education through a long-term extension of MARKOM2020
  • Establish a new, broader approach to maritime education and competence with special focus on digitization and new technology
  • Evaluate ways to adapt current regulations and funding systems in the university and college sectors to encourage lifelong learning
  • Explore tools and incentives to allow both companies and individuals to invest in competence and education
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8. Global questions