Black Sea Success Story: Innovative SOft SkilLs to Maritime Education and Training

Black Sea Success Story: Innovative SOft SkilLs to Maritime Education and Training

Author: Black Sea Assistance Mechanism

iSOL-MET is an Erasmus project designed to bridge the gap between soft skills and competences required for the workforce in the shipping industry sector. Based on a standardised and original case-study methodology, innovative educational materials were developed to support the industry.

More specifically, the project addresses the need for students to obtain the required skills to enter the maritime shipping market and provides educators with new educational tools to support this process. Furthermore, it addresses the needs of the shipping industry for qualified personnel according to the latest technological developments.

This project contributes to goal 2 of the Common Maritime Agenda for the Black Sea towards building “A competitive, innovative, and sustainable blue economy for the Black Sea” and, more specifically, to one of its main priorities, that is to promote blue skills and blue careers as an engine for innovation and competitiveness in the Black Sea region.   

Main achievements:

iSOL-MET equips maritime professionals with the tools needed to seize career opportunities beyond their sea service. Additionally, it addresses the experiential gap between maritime universities and real-world operations, ensuring that students gain valuable insights into on-board practices. Through the exchange of best practices and cultural awareness, iSOL-MET cultivates a cross border collaborative environment for maritime education. This project does not only cater to the needs of students, who are seeking to develop the right skills to enter the maritime shipping market but is also aligned to the pressing demand of the shipping industry for qualified personnel.

In this context, iSOL-MET created different materials for the maritime education community, which was made available to the public as well:

  • A Course Program that integrates the practice-oriented model course guidelines developed un the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to link theory and practice through using maritime case-studies for cultivating specific soft skills.
  • A Maritime Case Study Handbook comprising a collection of all case-studies identified and analyzed during the project’s lifetime. It is designed to address current soft skill gaps while providing educators with material on the content and the teaching methods.
  • Educational material including guidelines for the development of soft skills and recommendations to course designers on developing, conducting, and evaluating a course focusing on soft skills using case-studies.
  • Soft skill evaluation tools that educators or employers can use to evaluate the soft skills and transversal competencies of students or employees, including an Assessment Center for systematizing the process of evaluation, through case-studies.

Statement from the Project Coordinator:

iSOL-MET is an innovative approach to maritime universities teaching processes. It will contribute to changing the mindset of professors, students and graduates and will train leaders and managers for the blue economy professions of the future in the framework of sustainability, globalisation, and digitalisation”. Professor Maria Lekakou, Project Coordinator.

Statement from a student:

"I enjoyed taking part in the iSOL-MET project. I learned that soft skills such as listening, being patient, and communicating with each other to solve problems while also being a critical thinker – well, all these help you get the job done. I believe case studies are an attractive method to teach students this concept”. Valentina-Andreea MIHOK – CMU, Student.

Further information about the project:

  • EU contribution: 303 434 €
  • Fund: Erasmus+ programme, Key Action 2: Strategic Partnerships.
  • Duration: 36 months from 01/09/2020 until 31/08/2023

Entities involved: University of the Aegean, Greece - coordinator, Conference des Regions Peripheriques maritimes d’Europe – Association, France, Nikola Yonkov Vaptsarov Naval Academy, Bulgaria, T. C. Piri Reis Universitesi, Turkey, Universitatea Maritima Din Constanta, Romania, Akademia Morska W Szczecinie AM, Poland, PPP Learn Single Member Private Capital Company, Greece. 

Channels to know more about the project: