People, Behaviours and Soft Skills

The Maritime Skills Commission has commenced a new project to look at soft skills and behaviours for all levels of the workforce and management leadership skills across the UK maritime sector.  

As the strategic body responsible for leading the sector’s work in ensuring there is pipeline of talented people the Commission is committed to making sure that all levels of employees have the soft skills and behaviours required to be inclusive and progressive.

Current Situation

The Maritime Skill’s Commission have funded research to examine the behaviours, interpersonal skills and competencies required to improve recruitment, retention, and the identification of transferable skills within the maritime industry. To establish the above, a series of focus groups are currently being run. Please see further information linked below.


In the Commission’s Labour Market Intelligence Scoping Report, launched in 2020, it stated:

  • If the Commission wants to help companies to see skills problems in the round, it could publish practical guidance, perhaps with a title like “What can you do about Hard to Fill vacancies?”
  • Should the Commission decide that it wants to publish “think pieces” to stimulate debate, an early topic might be to challenge traditional thinking about recruitment, perhaps with a provocative title like “Do you really need a Master Mariner for that role?”.

Taking the recommendations and conversations coming out of current and future projects including Future Ports Workforce Research and the Seafarer Cadet Review, the Commission believes that now is the ideal time to progress a project to focus on people management, soft skills and behaviours.

The initial objective was to establish a roundtable discussion with Commissioners to design a project which covered People Management (HR), Soft Skills and Behaviours.  

The working group has met twice and the agreed initial pillars of work for this project will include:

  • Establishing strategic frameworks around ‘Organisational Values’ 
  • Telling the business case for ‘Professional People Management’ 
  • Creating ‘Storytelling on positive culture and visible leaders/leadership excellence’.

It is acknowledged that the education and upskilling of behaviours and soft skills is not the same as the training of technical competence.