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BSM Launches Smart Academy Programme Innovating Maritime Education

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement
Cadet training in the bridge simulator at BSM's Maritime Training Centre in Cyprus © BSM

Published Apr 21, 2024 1:44 PM by The Maritime Executive

[By: Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement]

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) introduces a new educational programme for future seafarers. BSM Smart Academy is a collaboration with selected maritime universities worldwide with the goal of closing the gap between academic knowledge and practical training. 

The shortage of skilled labour in the maritime sector, in particular at sea, poses a significant challenge for the industry. In the coming years, the global merchant fleet will face a shortage of thousands of officers. As a ship manager, BSM takes a proactive approach to meet this challenge and gain highly skilled seafarers with the newly formed initiative Smart Academy.

Specifically, the BSM Smart Academy provides for nautical, technical and electrical undergraduates from participating maritime universities to take part in the programme as designated BSM cadets following the completion of their first year. This means that they not only receive an academic education but also practical knowledge close to current industry requirements. “We enhance the education of future seafarers by engaging with them at an earlier stage,” says Eva Rodriguez, Director HR Marine of BSM.

Realistic and transparent training environment
Through the collaboration with the universities, cadets will undergo comprehensive training in a controlled and realistic work environment onshore and onboard. The training is aligned with BSM standards, ensuring a higher level of skill, and in particular, developing behavioural competencies before embarking onboard the multiculturally manned vessels. In addition, students will be specifically trained for the increasingly digitalised maritime work environment to prepare for future leadership roles both at sea and on shore. This approach ensures that when they embark on their cadetship, they are fully prepared and ready to navigate the challenges ahead with confidence and competence.

“We have found that course contents and standards of educational institutions are often varying. This initiative closes the gap between educators and employers by sharing knowledge, experience and skill needs between the industry and the educational sector”, says the HR Marine Director.   

“Seafarer education is costly. No education is even more costly.”
BSM actively invests in crew education, training and development to help reduce the crewing shortage over time and maintain the industry’s safety standards and requirements. The BSM Smart Academy programme is another component in BSM's intensive recruitment and retention commitment. It supplements the existing postgraduate Cadet Programme, the internal fleet transition programme and the proactive recruitment approach. Eva Rodriguez emphasises, “Seafarer education is costly. However, no education is even more costly.”

At the start of the initiative, BSM will collaborate with selected maritime universities worldwide. The cooperation partners are located in Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa, with another potential partner based in South America. In the first year, up to 100 students are to be recruited for the Smart Academy programme. The aim is to gradually expand the global partner network to open up new seafarer source markets.

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