04 Oct 2023
by Linzi Colaco

Mind the gap: How the Career Development Pathway is working towards tackling the skills gap shortage

Linzi Colaco, IMarEST Marketing and Communications Executive, takes a look at options to close the skills gap and support young professionals and existing employees.  

With the increasing skills shortage in the marine and maritime sectors, more employers are prioritising competencies and training of their staff to keep the industry thriving. Our recent membership survey highlighted that training and employee continuing professional development (CPD) are amongst many organisations’ top personnel concerns for the next three years. To help reduce the skills gap, we’ve launched the Career Development Pathway to ensure that those starting out in the industry are equipped with the knowledge and technical skillset to succeed.  

The Career Development Pathway 

In a nutshell, the Pathway is a five-year programme for those starting out in the industry and provides a natural progression after completing higher education, a cadetship or apprenticeship. Over the course of the programme, members boost their employability through exclusive learning resources, opportunities to build a professional network and a clear route to acquiring professional registration amongst many other benefits.  

I recently spoke to current members on the scheme to understand what they value about it and why they joined. From being able to collaborate with a professional community to accessing the latest news in the industry, members pointed out a range of experiences that they are enjoying as part of the Pathway. But one of the most common answers I heard was that as a novice to the sector, the programme has enhanced their knowledge and has consequently eased their journey into the marine industry. This enriched knowledge also refers to the fact that the five-year scheme increases awareness of the variety of opportunities available in the sector. Hence, the Pathway is not just a way to boost employability, it also enables members to feel confident in their knowledge and decisions to embark on and commit to a fulfilling career in the industry.  

Invest in your employees’ professional development 

To close the skills gap, we not only need to improve the pipeline of early career starters, organisations also have a major role to play. Many employers are recognising the need to focus on recruitment and upskilling in order to retain employees and prevent an increasing labour shortage. This includes the need to provide opportunities for their staff to maintain and grow their skillset and we are seeing employers investing in their workforce through training programmes such as the Career Development Pathway. After all, investing in employees is an investment in the organisation itself as many studies have shown; nurturing employees’ professional development strengthens employer-employee relationships and ultimately improves business success as staff have greater capabilities.1

Become a mentor 

Senior professionals are crucial to helping beat the skills crisis too as they are the role models for the next generation of marine professionals. Whilst the Pathway provides its members with exposure to all seniority levels, many are keen to learn even more from senior leaders of the industry. We are evolving the Career Development Pathway to include a mentoring scheme that will enable senior professionals to share their wisdom. With a variety of marine professions amongst our membership, we’re keen to spread the knowledge that can educate and inspire the workforce of tomorrow. To find out more or join our team of mentors, email [email protected]

If you are interested in joining the Career Development Pathway, discover the full details and sign up here.



  1. https://ung.edu/continuing-education/news-and-media/investment-in-employees.php