Dear participants of the seminar!
Firs of all, let us express our profound gratitude to the Head Office of Russian Maritime Register of Shipping and personally to Nikolay Alexeevich Reshetov for the choice of an up-to-date topic for this seminar. As an educational institution, we are keenly aware of the necessity for conducting serious vocational guidance work for seafaring career popularization. The problem of attracting young people to fleet is an international one and it is very important for seafarers that a person, who has chosen a maritime speciality and obtained it, stays onboard the ships or in the fleet related companies ashore. A young person may be guided correctly only when he properly understands the pluses and minuses of the future occupation.
Looking at statistical data, it turns out that many young people entering higher educational institutions, unfortunately, do not always see themselves as employees in this occupation in future.
According to the data from sociologists, about 20 % of the entrants in 2008 entered the educational institutions on their parents’ advice and about 15 % entered the institutions with low entrance competition, the same percentage - on the advice of their friends and acquaintances. The influence of dynasties on their children’s choice used to be one of the characteristic features of Russian marine education system 15-20 years ago. With the start of various reforms the segregation between generations has only gotten worse everywhere. This also adversely affected the fleet. Young people started to believe that to tread in steps of their parents was not prestigious. They strove to join new companies and new professions.
An example of Admiral Makarov State Maritime Academy, demonstrates that the number of seafarers' children among the students is becoming lower and lower. For instance, from the recruitment of 2008 their number amounted to: navigation faculty – 26 students of 142, marine engineering faculty - 11 students of 103, electric engineering faculty – 2 students of 54, arctic faculty – 4 students of 53, radio engineering faculty - 2 students of 42. To tell the truth, there are also such examples when the continuity goes in a generation: i.e. a grandfather recommends his grandson to be a seafarer and makes him ready for it.
The website of the leading organization of marine underwriters - the International Union of Marine Insurance presents the materials of the annual conference of the Union for 2007, where the same problems are discussed. The number of ship groundings and ship collisions is growing. Losses due to the human element amounted to 60-75 %/.
50 % of injuries are caused by a victim and 25 % - by a crewmate. It may be concluded that the availability of the documents confirmimg education does not guarantee that the licentiate is really skilled.
Why are we speaking about it? Because the Union of Marine Insurance makes a conclusion that training of a future seafarer shall be started as early as at school and in the family.
There was a period when the seafarering career had a hereditary nature and the traditions of the shipowners, speaking figuratively, were stamped as a tattoo on the eyeball. It is a hard, but colorful expression. It was prestigious to work for a serious shipowner. Today it is prestigious to work for that who pays more.
Undoubtedly, any educational institution, and our Academy among them, performs career-guidance work. Negative demographic situation forces us to perform it substantially. It is more difficult for marine educational institutions to make qualitative recruitment, because school graduates shall have both good knowledge and be physically fit. Therefore, more entrants is required to implement the recruitment and governmental order.
It is not sufficient to use traditional forms of activity as affiliated schools, specialized classes, publications in the newspapers and magazines, release of advertising films. We feel the need to coordinate our activity with employers and, first of all, with the shipping companies. Last September, Mr. Sergey O. Frank, Sovcomflot President and CEO, addressing the students of the Academy, said that "Marine dynasties" project had been launched in this major shipping company of Russia. In our opinion, it is a good example to follow and we suggest the shipowners to adopt this experience.
Working with young people, we see that rather often the level of salary plays a significant role in choosing their career. The seafarers have broad perspectives in this field, but our information base, evidently, does not contain such data. And probably, we have no right to give any specific figures, because it is the prerogative of the shipowner. In this connection, when vocational guidance for youngsters is carried out together with the shipowners, such factor will be noticeable.
Today Saint Petersburg numbers five Young Seamen Clubs. They are supported by the city and local authorities, but attention of shipping companies is of utmost importance for them. We should not so much speak about moneyed assistance, although it is essential, as of the possibility for schoolchildren to take a closer look at a real life of fleet. It is important to climb aboard the real ship, at least during their visit, to listen to the sailors and to fasten an idea of becoming a seafarer in their minds.
The Staffing Section of the Russian Maritime Doctrine reads as follows:
"the provision shall be made to strengthening of maritime traditions, expansion in the number of marine schools, Young Seamen Clubs and river transport workers, considering getting education in them as an initial stage of training for service and work in the Russian fleet".
In 1997 in the Soviet Union the Model Regulations on the Young Seamen Club with their Fleet or Shipping Company were implemented by the Ministry of Education. Thus serious this document was called. Financing of the Young Seamen Club was provided from the budget, and schoolchildren of 5-11th grades could join the club. Even the Model Regulations on a Training Ship of the Young Seamen Club were developed.
However, positive examples can be also noticed nowadays. The Young Seamen Club, a local government office of extended education for children, is working successfully in Novgorod region. Eleven programs approved by the Education Committee of Novgorod region are being realized there.
In 1995 the Model Regulations on an Educational Institution of Extended Education for Children was approved by the RF Government and amended in 2006. Thus, the legal base is established, and a maritime center for children is mentioned among the forms of state and municipal institutions.
In September, within the activity of Maritime Council under the Government of Saint Petersburg, at the joint meeting of the Agencies on Marine Education and Public Relations and Mass Media we reviewed the progress in the seafaring career promotion and worked out some recommendations. Particularly, taking this opportunity we would like to address to the shipowners with our kind request to get involved in the career-guidance process first of all. It is possible to patronize a specialized marine class at school, the Maritime Center for Children or the Young Seamen Club. It may be not only financial support, but also help in supplying the rooms with the marine attributes, in arrangement visits to ships and talks with the seafarers about their career. In no way it should be considered as an alternative to the career-guidance work provided by higher educational institutions but as growth of the professional constituent.
On October, 13 at the meeting of the Coordinating Council on Transport Education the issue related to patriotic upbringing was introduced in the agenda. The Chairman of the Council, the Minister of Transport Mr. Igor E. Levitin assigned a task to intensify the work with youngsters at the stage prior their entering the educational institutions of the industry.
Our seminar is a first major action dedicated to fleet future. Such wide range of trends, in our opinion, should be effective. Only the care of all the maritime community may return the prestige to the seafaring career and furnish the fleet with sea-devoted people. We believe in it.