Demand for professionals for the Merchant Navy and the maritime-port sector increases the attractiveness of higher education in these areas, which is guaranteed by the Infante D. Henrique Nautical School.
The growth in global shipping, as well as the technological evolution of ships, is contributing to the growing demand for staff to work in the Merchant Navy and the maritime-port sector.
This is the reality that Vítor Franco, president of Escola Superior Náutica Infante D. Henrique, has been verifying in recent years and that contributes to the school’s students registering an employability rate of over 90%.
“Currently at international level there is a severe shortage of Merchant Navy officers, with international data for 2021 showing that there is a shortage of more than 20,000 Merchant Navy officers, which with the war in Ukraine has been further exacerbated,” he revealed.
According to the official, the growth in world trade has contributed to this demand.
“Maritime transport represents virtually all sectors of activity, with an estimated 80% of global trade passing by ship. Between 1992 and 2020 shipping more than doubled and the capacity of the world fleet increased by 37% between 2013 and 2020,” he explained.
On the other hand, the digital transition in maritime transport and the energy transition also require new skills, again creating demand for staff.
Training future Merchant Navy officers and senior staff in the maritime-port sector in the areas of intermodality, management and logistics is the mission of the Infante D. Henrique Nautical College (ENIDH), which celebrates its 100th anniversary next year.
“ENIDH is the only higher education school in the country that provides training for the Merchant Marine and port areas. All our courses are accredited by A3ES, as is the case with all higher education institutions in Portugal, and simultaneously by EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency), an entity that confers internationally recognized certifications for maritime courses “, revealed Vítor Franco to Açoriano Oriental.
As highlighted by the official, the employability rate of courses taught at ENIDH is very high, revealing that in marine machinery engineering it is 99.2%, pilotage with 98.5%, transportation and logistics management of 98.4% or port management of 95.3%, in addition to being well-paid professions.
“These are extremely well-paid careers, with a gross annual salary of between €100,000 and €120,000. However, there is a great lack of knowledge about maritime careers and most young people do not know about these professional opportunities,” he said.
Vítor Franco also stressed that there are already several successful examples of women in the Merchant Navy, giving as an example Ana Melim, a former student of the Infante D. Henrique Nautical School, who is the first Madeiran to command a merchant navy ship, the container ship ‘Rebecca S’ of the Madeiran shipowner GS Lines.
“These are clearly professions of the future, which does not mean that the career has to be spent entirely at sea. For example, in engineering there is a huge demand for engineers who have already worked at sea, as they have extensive experience in a wide range of systems, which gives them an advantage to work in an industrial unit or a hotel, for example,” he said.
ENIDH offers a training offer consisting of degrees in pilotage, maritime machinery engineering, transportation and logistics management, port management, maritime electrical engineering and computer and computer engineering. As well as master’s degrees in pilotage and marine machinery engineering; and also higher professional technical courses (TeSP) in naval mechanical maintenance, electronics, naval automation, computer networks and systems, recreational navigation and maritime-tourism operation, and fishing operations and maritime tugs.
“ENIDH is the smallest of the Portuguese higher education institutions, but next year we will be 100 years old and we will make a strong promotion in the areas of the country where there was a strong maritime tradition,” he said, revealing that in the last decade the school had 240 students from the Azores.
Author: Ana Carvalho Melo Açoriano Oriental