On 18th February 2019 the University of Cyprus will host the First Regional Conference of Educational and Training Providers in the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea regions. This event also marks the completion of the two-year MENTOR project that address various issues of harmonization of training programs within the Blue economy on a regional level.

The one-day event aims to gather representatives of all participating project countries – Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and Romania, as well as from the four observer states – Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Distinguished professionals in the field of the maritime education and policy makers will discuss the challenges in the maritime training and the modern requirements of the skills for Blue employees.

The event will be held in two sessions. The morning one will be officially opened by the deputy minister of shipping in Cyprus, Ms. Natasa Pilides, which reflects the importance of maritime education for the local economy, as well as represents a good illustration of how government officials in the other project partner countries should be further involved in similar initiatives. A welcome speech will be also held by Mr. Ioannis Giapintzakis, vice-rector of the University of Cyprus, followed by Mr. Alexandros Josephides, IMO Goodwill Maritime Ambassador in Cyprus.

The conference will cover a vast array of topics ranging from challenges in defining new competencies in blue careers, industry needs and education opportunities in the shipbuilding and ship-repair sectors, knowledge and skills for aquaculture jobs, exploiting the human big data, marine renewable energy and its potential in the Mediterranean Sea.

One of the themes will reveal a catalogue of the training/educational centers in the shipping, aquaculture, cruise tourism, oil and gas sectors in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and Romania, which is one of the essential outputs of the entire MENTOR project study. Other interesting subjects would concern the gap between maritime education and maritime industry expectations and what can be done to bring the two together, as well as an overview of several other Blue research projects – MATES, MarEd, NAYS, PELAGOS, MAESTRALE, SEA4AL, ΘΑΛΧΩΡ2, InnoBlueGrowth. Representatives of the project observing countries from Lebanon and Jordan will discuss the maritime education and training opportunities within their local contexts, while the Egyptian project observer elaborates on the development of the maritime human element.

The venue for the conference is situated on the main campus of the University of Cyprus, as it will generously accommodate 23 speakers of 8 different countries, supporting conscience-building among their population for pursuing a career in the sectors of the Blue Economy. Thus, the MENTOR project through its Blue Career Center initiative has taken a leadership role in advocating for the development of high-quality maritime career information and in helping to identify the basic requirements for producing this type of information.

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