For immediate release: 12 September 2012
DEVELOPING A CAREER PATH FOR NEW GENERATION OF MARINE SCIENTISTS
A global consultation on marine science skills and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) was launched today (12 September) by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) in association with prominent learned societies, associations, industry, academia and governmental players. The aim of the consultation is to produce a guidance document for all wishing to follow, or already following, a career path in the marine science profession to ensure they are best placed to face the challenges that lie ahead.
“Put simply, we asked ourselves, and our Science and Technology Advisory Group (STAG) whether or not the next generation of marine scientists would be equipped to deal with the increasing challenges that need to be faced,” explains David Loosley, Chief Executive of IMarEST. “There are a number of elements that are integral to maintaining sustainability in a rapidly changing world. Ensuring that growth in maritime trade and society’s requirement for energy and other resources from the sea are balanced by effective environmental policies is of foremost importance. In parallel, new technologies must be enhanced to explore and observe oceans and seas and to implement protection measures. Marine scientists, who come from a diverse range of backgrounds and move into a wide range of roles in a discipline that covers many sectors, are driven by their curiosity, and need to be confident that the correct career structure and path is in place, so they can rise to the challenges that lie ahead.
“The outcome, our newly published study ‘IMarEST Marine Science Skills and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Assessment: Developing a Career Path for a New Generation of Marine Science Professionals’ consultation, is a first step in identifying skills gaps as part of a review of the professional development needs within the marine science community. The results of the consultation, which closes on 31 December 2012, will be used to develop tools to fill these gaps and address these needs, working in conjunction with other stakeholders.”
In launching the consultation today at Oceans of Potential 2012 in Plymouth, Dr Hannah Flint, a Chartered Scientist (CSci) and Chartered Marine Scientist (CMarSci), currently seconded to IMarEST’s Australia New Zealand and South Pacific (ANZSPAC) Division as Divisional Manager, spoke of the potential to further empower marine scientists internationally with the overall effect of enhancing the credibility of their recognised profession.
The consultation is targeted at all career stages – students undertaking marine science undergraduate and postgraduate courses; early career marine scientists; and those marine scientists working in senior positions in academia, marine policy, research and business.
As Mark Calverley, Consultancy Director of Fugro GEOS and a member of the IMarEST STAG explains: “Marine science needs to offer people a very definite career path to engage, develop and sustain those undertaking a challenging and exciting role as professional marine scientists.
“IMarEST taking this initiative forward, both on behalf of employers, and those pursuing marine science as a career, is an essential step in ensuring that marine science is truly recognised as a profession. I hope very much that this will change perceptions and that marine scientists will be seen as highly valuable, and valued, members of offshore teams.”
“We are sure that all involved in marine science will be eager to take part in the consultation, but as an added incentive we are offering the opportunity to win one of two iPads to those who take part,” says David Loosley. The consultation document and online survey can be found at http://www.imarest.org/Technical/TechnicalActivities/IMarESTMarineScienceSkillsandCPDSurvey.aspx
The consultation has four principal aims as it seeks to identify:
- Whether the correct technical skills and transferable skills are being learned across disciplines to help the next generation address current challenges and be prepared for future challenges
- Whether transferable skills are being suitably developed throughout an individual’s career
- The barriers facing those in emerging economies and developing nations eager to pursue a career in marine science
- The opportunities for those in senior positions to influence the next generation of marine scientists.
The next step
Once the consultation period has closed and the results have been assessed, the information will be used for five key purposes.
- To develop a career path guidance document for marine scientists.
- To inform the IMarEST and other international and national professional bodies and learned societies of the professional development needs of their marine science members and the marine science community in general.
- To provide guidance to employers of marine scientists of the professional development needs of their employees and those of marine scientists in general
- To inform education providers of the current gaps identified by individuals and employers in order to assist them with planning.
- To establish methods of addressing any significant differences in responses from different sectors and/or different countries.
Further information on IMarEST’s work on behalf of its global membership is available at www.imarest.org