The Workboat Association is working with maritime stakeholders in the UK help former employees in the ferry sector find work in the offshore wind industry.
Workboat Association chief executive Kerrie Forster told OWJ, “There is a skills gap in the UK offshore wind industry for competent deck, engineering and catering staff.
“It is our intention to raise awareness of the benefits of cross-industry support in order to get unemployed personnel on vessels again and meet the offshore wind industry’s growing requirement for qualified personnel.”
The ferry sector has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Large-scale redundancies are expected with a two- to three-year period before the industry recovers.
Mr Forster told OWJ that a UK-wide working group is helping the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union to find opportunities for several hundred UK mariners and retain much-needed skills in the maritime sector.
“The numbers are heavily rating and catering focused but with deck and engine staff also in need of assistance,” Mr Forster told OWJ.
“All of those being made redundant are, of course, already UK STCW qualified and provide a pool of easily transferable skills into the workboat, construction and service operation vessel (SOV) sectors.
“With continuing growth in these sectors, the working group believes there is a mutually beneficial opportunity to encourage transfers from the ferry market to offshore contracting and meet offshore wind employers’ needs.”
Mr Forster said the working group is liaising with stakeholders and trade associations and an HR consultant specialising in the offshore and marine sectors to identify skills gaps and short course needs that former ferry employees could complete in order to enhance their employability and meet offshore sector needs.
“These courses include, lifting and signalling, dangerous goods, or in some cases Global Wind Organisation training,” Mr Forster explained. The courses will be funded by a seafarer charity funded response.
“We need employers to link with the RMT and build the transfer potential for former ferry employees so that they can take advantage of a ready-made opportunity,” Mr Forster concluded. “In the first instance they should email the assistant national secretary for the RMT, Mark Carden, at M.Carden@rmt.org.uk.”