News: Industry welcomes call for boost in seafarer training support

- calls on government to implement recommendations, support SMarT+ proposals

The independent review of the Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) scheme highlights the value of the existing £15m-a-year assistance, pointing out that for every £1 the government spends on SMarT there is a £4.80 return to UK GDP.

The review concludes that SMarT is "a valuable incentive to industry" and that seafarer cadet numbers would plummet if it was withdrawn.

The report recommends that SMarT should be increased to ensure that UK training costs are in line with other northern European countries, who not only provide assistance for maritime training but more generally cover the full cost of university education.

Mark Dickinson, General Secretary of Nautilus, said:

"Its core messages are very straightforward and it presents the government with a simple choice: do nothing and watch our seafarer numbers continue to decline, or increase support for training a workforce which will richly repay the investment made in them.

"It is now imperative that the government acts urgently on these recommendations.

"It’s two years since the growth study was published and we now have the evidence that supports the case for real and positive action."

Tim Springett, policy director at the UK Chamber of Shipping, said:

“The UK Chamber welcomes the recommendation that the Government give a long-term commitment to SMarT funding.

“This will assist employers greatly in devising their crew training and employment strategies and give greater certainty to maritime education and training institutions when making decisions on infrastructure investments. 

“The UK Chamber calls upon the Government to implement these recommendations at the earliest opportunity."