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Cadet training in the bridge simulator at BSM's Maritime Training Centre in Cyprus ©BSM

Published on 18 April 2024

The shortage of skilled labour in the maritime sector, in particular at sea, poses a significant challenge for the industry. In the coming years, the global merchant fleet will face a shortage of thousands of officers. As a ship manager, BSM takes a proactive approach to meet this challenge and gain highly skilled seafarers with the newly formed initiative Smart Academy.

Specifically, the BSM Smart Academy provides for nautical, technical and electrical undergraduates from participating maritime universities to take part in the programme as designated BSM cadets following the completion of their first year. This means that they not only receive an academic education but also practical knowledge close to current industry requirements. “We enhance the education of future seafarers by engaging with them at an earlier stage,” says Eva Rodriguez, Director HR Marine of BSM.

Realistic and transparent training environment

Through the collaboration with the universities, cadets will undergo comprehensive training in a controlled and realistic work environment onshore and onboard. The training is aligned with BSM standards, ensuring a higher level of skill, and in particular, developing behavioural competencies before embarking onboard the multiculturally manned vessels. In addition, students will be specifically trained for the increasingly digitalised maritime work environment to prepare for future leadership roles both at sea and on shore. This approach ensures that when they embark on their cadetship, they are fully prepared and ready to navigate the challenges ahead with confidence and competence.

“We have found that course contents and standards of educational institutions are often varying. This initiative closes the gap between educators and employers by sharing knowledge, experience and skill needs between the industry and the educational sector”, says the HR Marine Director.

“Seafarer education is costly. No education is even more costly.”

BSM actively invests in crew education, training and development to help reduce the crewing shortage over time and maintain the industry’s safety standards and requirements. The BSM Smart Academy programme is another component in BSM's intensive recruitment and retention commitment. It supplements the existing postgraduate Cadet Programme, the internal fleet transition programme and the proactive recruitment approach. Eva Rodriguez emphasises, “Seafarer education is costly. However, no education is even more costly.”

At the start of the initiative, BSM will collaborate with selected maritime universities worldwide. The cooperation partners are located in Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa, with another potential partner based in South America. In the first year, up to 100 students are to be recruited for the Smart Academy programme. The aim is to gradually expand the global partner network to open up new seafarer source markets.

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Cadet training in the bridge simulator at BSM's Maritime Training Centre in Cyprus ©BSM
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Eva Rodriguez, BSM Director HR Marine ©BSM

Media Contact:

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM)

Annette Krüger

Phone: +49 (0)40 822265571


Janina von Spalding

Phone: +49 (0)174 6171545


About Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) is an integrated maritime solutions provider. Managing a fleet of over 650 vessels, over 20,000 seafarers and 2,000 shore-based employees enable the delivery of safe, reliable, and efficient ship management services through a network of 11 ship management centres, 28 crew service centres and five wholly owned maritime training centres across the world. Alongside comprehensive ship management services, BSM offers a suite of complementary maritime solutions that are customised to meet individual customer requirements. As a member of the Schulte Group, BSM benefits from its 140+ years of experience in the shipping industry.

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