The EU Blue Economy Report, developed by the European Commission, has become an important reference to understanding past developments, trends and future opportunities in the Blue Economy. It covers both established sectors (i.e. those that traditionally contribute to the Blue Economy) and emerging sectors (those for which reliable data are still developing) across EU Member States.
This 4th edition released in May 2021, supports policymakers and stakeholders to make informed decisions on the Blue Economy particularly in the light of the impacts of BREXIT and the COVID-19 crisis. The report makes an assessment of the Blue Economy using the latest available data and supports the development of policies that pursue the EU strategic vision for a sustainable Blue Economy at all levels of governance.
In the context of skills and education, the report states that there is a lack of well-trained professionals and highly skilled personnel in Blue Economy industries. Some of the key skills trends for the offshore renewable energy sector and the shipbuilding sector, as documented in the MATES report ‘Strategy baseline to bridge the skills gap between training offers and industry demands of the Maritime Technologies value chain’ (2019), are outlined in the report:
- A need to strengthen existing education provision in the marine fields and to develop specialised training adapted to the maritime industry (e.g. shipbuilding urgently needs education/ training in the digital domain, green technologies and soft skills).
- The shipbuilding sector must attract new talent while implementing generational replacement systems.
- Raising the level of Ocean Literacy would increase the visibility of professional opportunities in the Blue Economy likely to appeal to younger generations and female applicants.
- Skill ecosystems, i.e. meeting points for relevant stakeholders will help them obtain reliable data at a time when skills needs are constantly evolving.
- Heightened efforts towards a special Digital Literacy and Data Literacy training in the maritime sector.
MATES also identified the education and training gaps prevalent in the offshore renewable energy sector and the shipbuilding sector and the paradigm shifters which will affect future skills needs. Based on all of this extensive research and engagement with stakeholders, MATES has developed 11 Pilot Experiences consisting of specific training that is being tested within partner countries. Lessons learned and recommendations from the MATES pilots will be captured and fed into a Maritime Technology Skills Strategy which will be presented to experts on 29 September 2021 (to be confirmed) for validation and further refinement.