To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has plans to provide incentives for careers at sea for young people; and if he will make a statement.
Our seafarers are highly skilled professionals entering STEM related careers and the Department is keen to see more young people entering the industry and taking advantage of the many and wide ranging career opportunities that the maritime sector offers.
Government incentivises careers at sea by supporting approximately 30% - 50% of the cost of Seafarer Training through the Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) scheme. To create further training opportunities, SMarT Plus was announced earlier this year which will see SMarT funding doubled to £30m over the next seven years and training places increased to 1200 per year. In addition to SMarT, a continual supply of training opportunities are made available through the UK’s tonnage tax regime which requires a tonnage tax company to recruit and train one trainee officer (or ratings equivalent) for every 15 officer posts in its fleet.
As apprenticeships policy is devolved, the Department continues to support the sector in developing maritime apprenticeships in England, opening opportunities for careers at sea to all. There are currently 3 seafaring apprenticeships available for use with the levy. The Department also continues to support a number of initiatives promoting careers at sea to young people, including Seafarers Awareness Week, Maritime UK’s Maritime Careers Forum, the Women in Maritime Taskforce and the Year of Engineering.