Ronnie Cowan – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Transport

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Ronnie Cowan on 2016-04-08.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has for the future role of the merchant navy.

Mr Robert Goodwill

The Government appreciates the role played by the merchant navy and recognises the need for an adequate supply of UK maritime expertise to meet the nation’s economic and strategic requirements. This includes the demand for experienced seafarers in the shore-based maritime services sector.

The Department continues to provide support for the training of officers and ratings through the £15m Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) scheme.

Apprenticeships are at the heart of the Government’s drive to give people of all ages the skills employers need to grow and compete. Maritime is a key part of this with the Maritime Trailblazer which is employer led and has one approved standard for deck ratings and a further three in development for maritime mechanic, maritime caterer and onboard services.

The Maritime Growth Study, chaired by Lord Mountevans and published on 7 September 2015, recognised the need for more proactive action to replenish and develop the skills needed to maintain the UK position as a world-leading maritime centre. The Government has accepted the recommendations. We have already let a research contract to Oxford Economics to establish the requirement for trained seafarers in the UK. This will assist both government and industry to plan ahead and to make efforts to address priority shortages where gaps are identified. We are also working to address the other skills recommendations including conducting a review of SMarT funding, better links into schools teaching and enlarging the awareness programme to encourage entry into the merchant navy.