The KNOWME project covers the main issues addressed by the European Commission in the "Maritime Transport Strategy 2009–2018“ focusing on the ‘human factor’. The main concern is the growing shortage of maritime professionals, especially qualified merchant marine officers. This entails the significant risk of decreased competitiveness of the European maritime industry in general.
Knowledge and competence are vital resources for the European maritime transport sector that needs further development for meeting challenges from global competition and the necessity of creating local and global sustainable transport.
This research project is concerned with the creation of a maritime industry knowledge network for raising the knowledge level of the sector’s human resources and improving its image and marketability among key decision-makers, the labour market, and the public.
Europe’s maritime sector must sustain and improve its competitive advantage, with the groundwork for future international competitiveness resting with high quality and innovative education and training. Employees in the maritime transport sector need innovative educational opportunities that focus on their special working conditions.
The KNow-ME project addresses this need by engendering a modern ‘image of shipping’ which attracts young people to maritime careers at sea and ashore and instils an awareness of the industry as a driver of EU development and an attractive employer. This can only be achieved though critical dialogue with industry on potential future developments, current and future strengths and weaknesses, and the support required to ensure a forward thinking sustainable industry. The KNow-ME consortium argues that maritime training and education requires a life-cycle approach, where demand-oriented transnational e-courses and supporting material are developed in line with industry expectations and modern lifestyles. Enhanced education and training for the industry’s professions must cater for a multicultural working environment, gender neutrality and maximum accessibility independent from time and space. A modern image, career management and e-training and education will be promoted by establishing an e-portal that integrates with other ‘e-maritime initiative’ developments.
Implementation of the proposed education and training strategies require the support of both industry and proactive national and regional policy and practices that enhance the transparency, transferability and compatibility of training and educations standards. The KNow-ME project will establish a network of excellence in Europe, integrating experience from leading maritime research institutions. The pilot applications of e-courses developed within KNow-ME will allow for Continuing Professional Development, with the outcomes expected to contribute to improved living and working conditions on board vessels.
The main objectives are:
- Maintain and enrich the knowledge capital of the European Maritime sector by identifying knowledge enablers. Encourage the creation, transfer and integration of knowledge. The Community’s maritime sector must sustain and improve its competitive advantage, independently from economic crisis. Therefore, a need of a general improvement of and strategy to develop such knowledge that will enable it to be more proactive in relation to developments originating from international competition and environmental requirements is imminent.
- Improve opportunities for innovative education and training. Employees in the maritime transport sector are in need of innovative opportunities for education and training that focus on their special working conditions. The KNOWME project will address this need by developing a centre of excellence that develops and provides a product line of courses and training opportunities that meets the needs of industry as regards content, structure and teaching/learning technologies and with the necessary time, place, and communication convenience.
- Carrying out research for image improvement. The necessary modal shift of transport from land to sea will be facilitated by improving the image and awareness of the Community’s shipping among politicians, decision-makers, the general public and potential employees as well as the media and the opinion makers. Therefore, this project will carry out research among members of these groups to identify weaknesses and threats to be confronted and strengths and opportunities to be exploited. The findings will yield strategies for improving the image and awareness of the maritime industry in the Community can be developed and increase awareness.
Within seven work packages the objectives of the project will be achieved:
- Imaging - Creating a modern 'image of shipping' in Europe
- Research - for strengthening the human factors in shipping
- Education of maritime and on-shore professions on job opportunities and career management
- Review of education and training policies and practices from an international perspective
- EU-Portal for career management and development, e-training and e-education
- Organisational umbrella and collaboration between industry and education sectors
- Project management, coordination of dissemination and exploitation