The Maritime and Port Bureau (MPB) of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) has combined the resources of social groups, ocean carriers, maritime colleges, and government departments for the first time to jointly present the Seafarer Cultivation Program. This program aims to promote the cultivation of talents in the ocean freight industry of Taiwan, taking both sustainable development and social welfare into account to create “prosperity for all.” The signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) took place today (24th) witnessed by Administrative Deputy Minister Chi Wen-Jong of the MOTC.
In his remarks, Administrative Deputy Minister Chi Wen-Jong stated that the global shipping industry is thriving more than ever, even under the ravages of COVID-19. There is now a massive need for seafarers in the market, and in order to attract more talents as well as to help young students from disadvantaged rural areas, the MPB has invited the Boyo Social Welfare Foundation to join the Seafarer Cultivation Program, reaching out to rural areas and working with maritime colleges to cultivate talents for the ocean freight industry of Taiwan.
Representing industry, academia, and social groups respectively, Chairman Chang Yen-I of Evergreen Marine Corp, Chairman Cheng Chen-Mount of Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation, Chairman Tang Chuan-I of the Boyo Social Welfare Foundation, and President Lin Chun-Yen of Taipei University of Marine Technology spoke at today’s ceremony, showing their support to this program, which has had a positive effect in the recruitment of shipping professionals. Chairman Tang Chuan-I of the Boyo Social Welfare Foundation was also happy to have this opportunity to provide better education for students in rural areas. Thanks to the professional education of maritime colleges, Mr. Tang hoped to provide better maritime professionals for the industry and fill the job vacancies of ocean carriers.
Director-General Yeh Hsieh-Lung of the MPB also stated that since its establishment in 2012, 10 years ago, the MPB has actively promoted seafarer development policies including the cultivation and recruitment of maritime professionals. In addition, since the MPB held the first online career and education expo for the shipping industry last year, many sectors have responded to these policies. This year, seven major ocean carriers, including Evergreen Marine Corp., Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation, Wan Hai Lines Ltd., U-Ming Marine, China Steel Express Corporation, Kuang Ming Shipping Corp., and TVL Marine Co., Ltd., were invited to integrate their resources with the educational resources of domestic maritime colleges and promote the Seafarer Cultivation Program. In addition to encouraging students from rural areas and underprivileged indigenous families to join the program and receive counseling, this program also includes three major features: (1) It provides a one-stop academic-career counseling platform; (2) in addition to granting subsidies for tuition fees, miscellaneous fees, and accommodation fees, a yearly subsidy of NT$100,000 to NT$180,000 for living expenses is also provided; (3) junior high school graduates studying at maritime vocational schools may also benefit from the program. Furthermore, the program also encourages parents of students under the counseling program to become seafarers and improve the economic situation of their families. The parents may become seafarers as long as they pass the intensive trainings of the Class B Crew Member Training Course, thereby increasing their job opportunities.
Due to COVID-19, the MPB changed its original plans and chose video presentations as an alternative method to promote the program. In addition to introducing the contents of the program, the videos also feature President Huang Yu-Hui of the Master Mariner Association; seafarers Chang Ling-I, Liao I-Ting, and Liao Wei-Chun; and senior student of the Department of Merchant Marine at the National Taiwan Ocean University Feng-Tsai, sharing their experiences as seafarers and seafarer students. The aim of these videos is to allow young students to gain a deeper understanding of this profession, giving them an extra option when pursuing higher education.