Hamburg’s training capacity exhausted

HAMBURG shipowners and operators are increasingly forced to hire fresh blood from other training and college sectors than the ‘shipping clerk’ apprenticeship schemes that form the backbone of industry recruitment in Germany.

“We have expanded the number of apprentices to the limit, but it’s not enough to fully cover our requirements,” said Gerhard Binder, chairman of the Hamburg Shipowners’ Association, today in Hamburg. A huge increase in demand for shore personnel due to the rapid fleet expansion means that 250 young people started the scheme in the Hansestadt last year. German owners have ordered about 1,600 newbuildings including options in total, with Hamburg-based companies commanding an estimated share of 60%. Detlef Meenke, general manager of the Hamburg owners’ association, told Fairplay that many of the 40 member companies cannot take on more more trainees because of space constraints. “The new offices which many companies relocated to in the past two or three years are already bursting at the seams,” he said. Meanwhile, recruitment for junior management positions begins to shift to applicants from outside the industry with business administration, law or engineering backgrounds. Only one third of 60 participants of the association’s young professionals’ committee have entered the industry through the shipping clerk apprenticeship scheme, highlighted Meenke. The training squeeze may be mitigated in the coming years, however, through new maritime management courses at universities in Hamburg and Bremen, said Meenke.

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