The war on talent will become increasingly severe as more economies respond to mitigate this potential human capital and economic crisis with varying approaches from immigration to non-immigration temporary work solutions, giving young people a wider range of global career opportunities in the shipping and more widely in the maritime industry.
Since ships, ports and other maritime sectors, related equipment and operations are quickly becoming digital, there is a need to hand-hold the future personnel with upgrading training programs so that they welcome the digitalized future. Especially ships’ crews need to be trained for digitalization because a lot of new initiatives and applications being taken by ship owners to introduce for example green ship technologies, new efficiency gains and technologies as well as other digital solutions.
Those who are slow to invest in technologies, digitalise and undertake change management and cultural transformation will lose competitiveness and relevance as the operating landscape undergoes waves of profound changes triggered by the digital revolution. It is sink or swim time, and the force of the waves of digitalisation to come will sweep away those who are ill prepared for their arrival.A holistic approach is needed. International and national bodies, industry and organisations must work together to put in place a digital ecosystem that enables and encourages adoption of Industry 4.0 in a safe and effective manner. Their approach must address the key areas of policy, financing, human capital, organisational change and collaboration.
Working with real-time data, for example collecting data alone is not enough – the data needs to be analysed and interpreted to derive value and enable judgment calls that ensure systems are designed to provide safety and security of operations, optimal efficiency, compliance with rules and regulations and eventually generate profit for their companies. This requires trained people who are not only tech-savvy but have a range of soft skills such as analytical capabilities and critical thinking to draw value from data.To this end, marine education and training institutes must review their curriculum to offer courses and programs relevant to the marine industry’s current and future needs. Much work also needs to be done to educate the educators and increase their awareness of the usefulness of adopting Industry 4.0.
Generation Z as "the generation reaching adulthood in the second decade of the 21st century and this generation are studying now. If we want to safeguard the new talents to maritime sector and shipping, we must act NOW. Curriculums in the maritime academies and other relevant training institutions must meet the new requirements of Industry 4.0 development. The trend toward increasing automation and connectivity, including technologies such as internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous and unmanned technology, and data analytics is the future. Technologies such as AI, virtual reality, IoT, machine learning and others are man-made, and their usefulness still depends on the people who design, produce and operate them.
Text: Markku Mylly, Master Mariner, Senior Advisor, SeaFocus