International Debate on Competencies for Offshore Wind at the Gdynia Maritime University -
International Debate on Competencies for Offshore Wind at the Gdynia Maritime University
Date of publication: 25.05.2023

In response to the urgent market challenges associated with the growing expansion of the offshore wind sector, the Offshore Wind Energy Centre at Gdynia Maritime University (CMEW UMG) organized an international conference focused on developing industry-relevant competencies.

Investments in new projects in the Baltic Sea are driving the dynamic growth of the offshore wind segment, resulting in a high demand for specialized personnel equipped with the necessary qualifications for carrying out tasks specific to this field. The Gdynia Maritime University (UMG), which has been educating future officers for the merchant fleet, as well as engineering and managerial staff for the maritime economy for over 100 years, recognizes the new needs of the market and appropriately diversifies its offer. The university proposes a wide range of educational and training programs dedicated to the offshore wind sector. Interested individuals can acquire industry-specific competencies through undergraduate and graduate studies, postgraduate courses, as well as the prestigious Executive Offshore Wind MBA program and specialized training.

Last week, the Offshore Wind Energy Centre UMG invited experts to participate in the international conference Competencies for Offshore Wind. The event brought together approximately 100 representatives from the offshore wind sector and the educational community, fostering substantive discussions, the exchange of ideas, and active networking.

"Poland has the opportunity to become one of the leaders in offshore wind energy. The development of this sector depends on the availability of qualified workers. The conference serves as a platform for a debate on the workforce needs of the offshore wind sector and the possibilities for educational institutions to provide the necessary competencies," emphasized Andrzej Popadiuk, Director of CMEW UMG. "Our goal is to integrate various circles within the education sector. We aim to create a forum for discussions, both during the conference itself and in informal settings, regarding various aspects of capacity building in terms of qualified personnel for offshore wind," added Dr Tomasz Harackiewicz, Deputy Director of CMEW UMG.

Invited guests representing leading pioneers in offshore wind energy, including Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, and France, shared their valuable experiences and established systemic solutions. "Thanks to close collaboration with industry leaders and leading educational institutions, we can benefit from international experiences and proven solutions, thus accelerating the development process in Poland," noted Director Andrzej Popadiuk.

Flemming Østergaard from the Danish Erhvervsakademi SydVest highlighted the important role of close cooperation between the business and academic communities. "The education system is starting to realize that it needs to improve its qualifications and adapt to the industry's requirements. Offshore wind companies, as well as various related organizations, are engaging in open debates and collaborations with educational institutions to precisely identify their needs. I believe this is a very Danish approach. It is a highly pragmatic way of operating, and it works well for us", he emphasized.


Similar approaches are being taken in the Netherlands. "One of the most crucial aspects of our practice is that we create new educational courses in close collaboration with the industry. In the Netherlands, strong public-private partnerships and the development of technical courses are important because they form the foundation of a good vocational education system," observed Stieneke Boerma, Project Manager at Noorderpoort College.

Radosław Marciniak, President of PŻB Offshore, shared a similar perspective. "As the Baltic Polish Shipping Group, we are actively engaged in cooperation with higher education institutions in the Pomeranian region, as well as secondary schools, such as the Maritime School Complex in Kołobrzeg. PŻB Offshore intends to focus on development programs for individuals seeking career changes, as well as for young people interested in entering this sector", he assured.

Stieneke Boerma also addressed the important issue of building an attractive image for the industry. "It's interesting that the competition for talent doesn't occur solely between offshore wind companies, but rather in competition with other technical sectors because people tend to go towards the metal, chemical, or other industries. We need to be attractive as a sector and unite our forces. We must make our work visible. When you go to work far out at sea, no one sees it. To make it more appealing, we need to show what we do and offer people a clear career path. It's not just about money but also about working for a better future in a sustainable sector because that's crucial for many individuals," she stated.

She was supported by Steffen Schleicher, Cluster Manager Innovation & Conference at WAB. "Today, salary is not the deciding factor when choosing a career. The salaries in offshore wind are equally attractive to those in the oil and gas sector, but they have a much better, greener image. Young people are aware of who they work for and what they want to achieve in life. Offshore wind companies have an advantage; they have priority in attracting employees", he emphasized.

The Competencies for Offshore Wind conference proved to be a valuable event, attracting globally recognized experts from the offshore wind sector. Active collaboration, innovation, and dynamic education are the responses of the Gdynia Maritime University to the industry's ever-growing challenges. Through such initiatives, Poland has the opportunity to significantly accelerate its development in the field of maritime wind energy and gain a competitive advantage in the international market.

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