In November 2018 the EU Social Partners of the Shipbuilding and Maritime Equipment sector, SEA Europe and industriAll Europe, together with Tknika, the Basque VET Applied Research Centre, and Turku University of Applied Science, launched a joint project for Upskilling Shipbuilding Workforce in Europe (USWE).

The social partners were mandated to undertake this important project by their national members of the EU Social Dialogue Committee for Shipbuilding. The aim of the project was to continue the important work and recommendations of the previous joint EU social dialogue skills projects. In particular, the project sought to further identify the main skills gaps in the sector in relation to the adaptation to industry 4.0 and green technologies and the further digitalisation of the workplace.

The project, co-financed by Erasmus+, has involved 70 organisations including shipyards, suppliers, industrial associations, trade unions and education providers from across Europe.

The USWE project has delivered an innovative methodology for managing sectoral skills and profiles in the shipbuilding industry. It identified the main skills and occupational needs, both now and in the next 5 and 10 years, and analysed the impact of 4.0 technologies on existing occupations and skills while identifying new ones that will be in high demand in the future.

By Jake Frith