With the ever-changing times in the shipping industry, there is always the question; Will there be new jobs, or will the jobs change?
With the introduction of the steam engine, a real new specie entered the maritime world as the engineer came on board. The engineer adjusted to handle the diesel engines when the diesel era started. Of course, occupational profiles were lost on board ships. When the sails went, the sailmaker and the carpenter went ashore, but others adapted; for example, the Bosun is still there, although with additional skills.
The current pace of change in the shipping industry is accelerating, and with the environmental goals and digitalisation, the question arises again: Are new occupational profiles in view?
After discussions with ETF, ECSA members, current and former seafarers, and research, the main message is not yet. The industry is still looking at additional skills. The opinion is that in the nearby future, Captains and Chief Engineers will man the shore control centres.
The only new wish which is popping up is a new occupational profile alike the Electrical Technical Officer, the so-called “Digital-Data Analysing-Electronic Technical Officer (DTO)”. This person can assist on board with network problems, data gathering and repairing of electronic devices to assist the engineers and bridge team on “digital issues”. The education is basically not maritime, but like the ETO this person needs extra training in relation to the safety on board. The challenges ahead are one identifying the future learning goals and outcomes to provide education on the new subjects and second deciding what needs to be in the basic STCW education as we cannot keep on adding without also taking some subjects away.