Tackling skills gap in marine sector

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A new employability project in Cornwall is hoping to help counter a problematic skills gap in the marine sector.

The latest research from British Marine reveals that although 2015/2016 revenues in the marine sector grew by 1.6% to £3.01 billion, its members reported a skills gap pertaining primarily with soft skills as a future potential growth barrier.

In a bid to ensure future employees in the sector have real-world skills, a group at Falmouth Marine School have taken part in the building of a 15ft skiff for a client, with a focus on the softer skills relating to client engagement.

Steve Taylor, from Falmouth Marine School, who is spearheading the new employability project, said having worked in the industry for many years he was “aware of the skills gap issue and wanted to help tackle it”.

“There are nearly 900 marine businesses in Cornwall and 255 of these are in Falmouth and Penryn, so the importance of upskilling couldn’t be clearer,” he explained.

“The boat builders are highly skilled in their craft, but can lack the necessary communication skills when dealing with customers, which is why at the Marine School we always include live projects alongside the course, to help address this potential issue and to further develop our learners.”

Taylor said that the softer skills component of the course will now carry credits and become part of the employability module and core delivery of the programme.