Maritime Skills Commission launches research into workforce for future ports


The Maritime Skills Commission (MSC), set up by Maritime UK and the Department for Transport in 2020, today launches its Future Ports Workforce Research Report. The report came as a recommendation from the MSC Labor Market Intelligence Scoping Report in October 2020.

The modern port is a significantly different place from the historic port. It is increasingly shaped by forces such as the globalization of supply chains, automation and digitization. It is also shaped by external imperatives such as sustainability. We expect these trends to not only continue, but to accelerate.

The report makes eight key recommendations that emphasize collective action:

  • Clarify which body leads port skills
  • More collaboration within ports and the maritime sector to foster improved diversity
  • Undertake a systematic review of how skills are used currently and of planned changes in skills/job requirements in the future
  • “Eating the Elephant” One Bite at a Time: Sharing Best Practices and Targeted “Sprints”
  • Investigate short-term priority skills gaps/shortages, including learning from other sectors
  • Develop more proactive approaches to upskilling, reskilling and reskilling the current workforce
  • Working together to inform a better skills policy and funding landscape
  • Develop HR capacity in the sector

The report will be launched in a webinar today at 11:30 a.m. Registration is available here.

Professor Graham Baldwin, Chairman of the Maritime Skills Commission, said:

“The Maritime Skills Commission is delighted to release this report today. There are practical and solid recommendations as well as the identification of areas requiring further analysis, all of which support the development of the port workforce of the future.

“The Commission is committed to working with the British Ports Association, Port Skills and Safety and the UK Major Ports Group to ensure the recommendations are implemented.”

Tim Morris, managing director of the UK Major Ports Group, said:

“UK ports have much to be proud of in their historic commitment to skills development, such as high quality apprenticeships. But as an industry serious about developing that commitment and building for future success, it is in its right that we rigorously examine where the opportunities for improvement lie. The report launched today does just that, and it is welcome. UKMPG looks forward to working with port and maritime sector stakeholders to take forward its recommendations. »

Debbie Cavaldoro, Managing Director, Port Skills and Safety, said:

“Port Skills and Safety welcomes this report from the Maritime Skills Commission and the UKMPG, and the recommendations it contains. Besides the recent Terminal Velocity report from the British Ports Association, we certainly have work to do. PSS will take note of all recommendations from both reports and launch a new port skills strategy in the coming months.

Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the British Ports Association, said:

“The UK ports sector is changing and the skills needs of the industry will need to reflect these changes. As we enter an era of digitized operations, the skills pipeline needed to work in ports is constantly evolving. The sector employs 115,000 people in the UK and is vital to the economy. It is therefore fitting that the Maritime Skills Commission has begun to examine the sector alongside those of the wider maritime industry. The report is a good first step, but now the Commission needs to work with the wider industry, including the industry’s recognized skills and training body, Port Skills and Safety.”

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