Seafarers Training Institute hopes hiring initiative will attract young Maritimers

Courtesy: Seafarers' International Union of Canada

A national hiring initiative has been launched by the Seafarers Training Institute, with a special focus on attracting Maritimers fresh out of high school.

In a news release issued Tuesday, Seafarers Training Institute said they are looking to hire 300 new seafarers, to address an “ongoing labour shortage” and “impending crisis.”

Additional jobs are expected to be created to fill positions in the industry’s aging workforce.

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Seafarers Training Institute president Jim Given says 25 per cent of their workforce are going to be retiring over the next five years, over half the membership is over the age of 50, and less than 13 per cent are under the age of 30.

“When we look at those numbers, we have a real need to start recruiting,” Given told Global News on Tuesday.

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“As a company … it’s been very slow getting off the mark with recruitment. Shortages have been predicted for years, and we’re finally in that position where shipping and the marine industry [have] taken off and we have to keep up with that supply.”

Seafarers Training Institute says it is working in partnership with Seafarers International Union (SIU), Algoma Central Corporation, Canadian Steamship Lines (CSL) and Groupe Desgangés on the hiring imitative.

SIU members are hired to work for companies like Canada Steamship Lines, Algoma Central Corporation and Groupe Desgagnés on vessels in the Great Lakes, and on the East and West Coasts. They represent the majority of unlicensed sailors in Canada.

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Jim Given, who started his career in Halifax, says there’s a need for seafarers right across the country — specifically among youth.

“We used to have a lot of membership from the East Coast … but it seems that that family tradition of seafaring really didn’t pass on,” Given said. “The younger people looked at different careers, different places, and we’re hoping now with the way the ships are, how modern they are, that we can attract them back into the industry.”

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Anyone over the age of 18 is welcome to apply.

“We need somebody who doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty and wants to dig in and work hard,” Given said.

“We’re not going to sugarcoat this — seafaring is a tough job. You’re away from home, you’re in an isolated environment, the hours are long, the work is hard, but it pays off.”

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