Under the umbrella of CMA in my country events, on 21st of June, Romania organized its first national event called ‘Blue skills – Next wave of learning’. Industry experts, government officials, and students gathered in Constanta for a dynamic event to discuss blue skills, assessing the specific needs and gaps within the maritime industry in Romania in meeting market demand.
The event kicked off with a presentation by the CMA National Coordinator, who emphasized the role of the Common Maritime Agenda for the Black Sea in supporting the development of blue skills as an engine for innovation and competitiveness in Romania and the wider Black Sea region. The Romanian National Hub then presented an insightful overview of blue skills and their relevance in the maritime sector. The highlight of the event was a captivating panel discussion featuring experts from various domains, including blue tourism, innovation and research, higher education, and fisheries.
Participants were engaged in an interactive World Café session where they explored specific topics related to blue skills, such as the needs of students and future employees, the requirements of the higher education system, and the expectations of employers. The fruitful discussion allowed the mapping of needs for blue skills among Romanian stakeholders.
These needs can be categorised into several key areas. Firstly, training and education, highlighting the importance of identifying relevant course topics, providing accessible and interactive training with practical components, and having adaptable teachers who can meet market needs. Additionally, participants emphasised the significance of internships and career guidance, mentioning the need for internships, comprehensive career counselling, and raising awareness about blue skills and employment opportunities in schools. Collaboration and networking in the field were also identified as important elements, to be enabled through job fairs, as well as close cooperation between teachers and employers, exchange programmes to gain experience, and volunteering initiatives. Policy and structural changes were also discussed, including the need for authorities' support, education system restructuring, and national strategies for blue domains. Lastly, participants emphasized that raising awareness of blue skills through role models and social media can help attract students, as well as via national campaigns, and blue career fairs.
An extensive list of follow-up actions will be capitalized through further consultations with national and regional stakeholders, which may lead to a potential joint project proposal on blue skills under a future call under the EU Erasmus+ Programme.
By addressing a new topic, the event paved the way for collaborative efforts to develop blue skills and meet the demands of the maritime industry in Romania and the wider Black Sea region, showcasing the commitment of stakeholders towards driving the sustainable growth of the maritime sectors.