The Canary Islands Maritime Cluster organises for the Presidency of the Government of the Canary Islands, within the framework of its international promotion brand Canary Islands Suppliers and its project INTERREG-MAC 2014-2020: SMART BLUE, working groups to improve the professional skills of the Blue Economy.

The European Union is aware that the maritime sector, which constitutes the “blue economy”, could generate 7 million jobs in Europe by 2020, and that the Atlantic region can contribute significantly to this “blue growth”. This is why it urges member countries to define an action plan setting out research and investment priorities in order to boost the “blue economy” in the Atlantic region.

For the Canary Islands, making full use of the potential of the blue economy in the region, and effectively implementing the action plan, involves a combination of efforts in three areas: making targeted investments, boosting research capacity and improving skills.

In this process, it is essential for the Government of the Canary Islands to have the opinion of Canary Islands companies that provide services in the marine and maritime sector, so that policies are defined on the basis of their real needs and those required by the trends of the market in which they operate.

It is for this reason that the Canary Islands Maritime Cluster convenes, on this occasion in Gran Canaria, the Naval Repair working group at 9:00, and the Offshore Wind/Renewable Energy group at 11:30, inviting companies belonging to or interested in each of the Subsectors.

During the meeting, the participating companies reported on the great lack of specialized professional qualifications for the Canary Islands auxiliary industry in ship repair and offshore wind. This is the case of occupations such as Naval Mechanics operators, naval electronics, hydraulics and also industrial managers or masters.

In the opinion of the attendees, this is due to the fact that the current system of professional qualification in the Canary Islands for the sector is obsolete and does not adapt to the reality of the Canary Islands naval and auxiliary industry, and to the market in which they move, and with the speed that is required.

As a solution, the companies propose to define the real occupations currently required by the sector in the Canary Islands, identifying specific training itineraries, specific to our reality in the Canary Islands, even though these differ from the degrees established at national level. That is to say, to make a tailor-made suit.

They also indicated the following aspects to be taken into account:

  • The level of high English is basic and fundamental to work in the blue economy.
  • The training provided must be linked from the outset with the company so that it not only provides practical knowledge, but also raises awareness of the implications of working in this sector, in relation to hours and type of work.
  • The students must have, from the beginning, the Basic Safety Training (given by the training centre itself) that is required in the sector, so that they can have contact and access from the beginning to the work centres (shipyards, power stations, wind farms, etc.), with which the training centres must have collaboration agreements to ensure access.
  • It is necessary to have a job bank of personnel trained in various specialized areas, to which companies can turn when they have hiring needs, whether for specific works or for the usual staff. The sector does not have a seasonality in the hiring of personnel, but works with peaks of work, so you can not commit to hiring months or years in advance.
  •  Teachers who provide training for the sector must have or have had links and experience in the sector.

Both meetings were attended by a total of 39 attendees, belonging to 20 different companies and institutions, and were held in a room of the Presidency of the Government of the Canary Islands in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Those attending the meetings were very satisfied with the results and hope to continue participating in the process of improving professional skills initiated with these working groups.