Ringaskiddy: From 2017 onwards continuous refresher training in the areas of survival and firefighting will be mandatory for all mariners. Since there are about 1.4m seafarers globally, with the refresher training for mariners being required every five years, a billion euro market awaits those with the vision and expertise to capitalise on the industry’s obligatory requirements. One such man looking on at this regulatory change with relish is Conor Mowlds, the head of the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI).
“There’s a lack of maritime training infrastructure globally, which presents the NMCI – and our joint venture companies – with an opportunity to increase our domestic training business with overseas students and to further develop our overseas presence,” Mowlds says.
Moreover, this perceived lack of training infrastructure worldwide could allow NMCI to replicate its model around the world.
“The number of maritime academies or training centres of varying capability worldwide is nowhere near the number needed to serve the needs of the industry post 2017,” Mowlds reckons, adding: “This means more than just an opportunity for overseas visitors seeking training courses in Ireland, it means the prospect of establishing the NMCI’s business overseas both in terms of actual education and training delivery and the provision of consultancy and support for those looking to develop additional capacity in their home countries.”
NMCI’s growth comes at a time where Ireland as a whole is growing as a maritime hub with both public and private sectors pushing to make the republic a genuine international maritime centre.
“I think it’s a really good time for Ireland, particularly in terms of maritime education and training,” Mowlds says. “As a country we’ve made some very prudent investments in state educational and research infrastructure that we can now reap the benefits of.”
State of the art facilities like the National Maritime College and more recently University College Cork’s Beaufort Laboratory give Ireland a leading edge, Mowlds contends.