Whilst chairing a panel discussion during the MMF-WestMED Blue Skills Conference on 12 May, Dr Ann Fenech, Board Member of the MMF, said that the maritime industry offers a multitude of careers prospects for our young people – males and females alike. The industry generates sea-faring and land-based positions for highly specialised qualified individuals such as naval engineers, lawyers with specialisation in maritime law, mechanical and electrical engineers, ship captains and even as we have heard, cigar sommeliers on board the most luxurious of super yachts.

And yet the industry is short of sufficient skilled personnel also because some of the positions required to be filled are generally not for the faint-hearted. In fact, it typically looks for a profile of people who are not averse to risk and are yet knowledgeable, flexible and dedicated. Clearly however the industry generally is not attracting sufficient persons. This skills gap requires better coordination on the part of all stakeholders to facilitate the path of our young people from the class-room to our industry.

Malta punches well above its weight in terms of the maritime industry. But there is much more to Malta’s maritime industry besides its flag – every aspect of the maritime industry is well represented here from transhipment, to ship repair, from bunkering to yachting.  The industry is of systemic importance to us strategically as well as economically. Malta operates in a global village and the entire world is moving ahead regardless and at a very fast pace. In order to safeguard our competitiveness, therefore, it is our duty as promoters of the maritime industry to ensure that we are able to sustain progress in our industry by bridging the skills gap through education, ocean literacy and awareness of the opportunities that the maritime world has to offer.”

Karin Grech
Author: Karin Grech