The marine industry in Palma is a booming business with Companies here seeming to be developing and improving their abilities to offer their clients a better service each year.
The market here is so competitive due to the STP shipyard business model with so many great industry professionals deciding to call Palma home it seems to be going from strength to strength.
All that being said I feel that anyone running a business here will come up against the same obstacles no matter which trade you are specialising in. The seasonal work here makes it very difficult to be able to keep staff employed through out the year but then during certain parts of the refit season we are not able to find enough qualified trades men and women locally usually meaning in flying people in from overseas to help with the demand.
This applies especially to our trade of Composite Boat building which each year the demand is becoming greater but the amount of trainees / apprentices in Europe coming through is very little as its still hardly recognised as a Specialist trade.
We have sadly lost companies like Greene Marine who were big contributors in training people for the Northern Hemisphere Composite boat building sector. In New Zealand they seem to be a little more aware of the potential of the Composites sector with big Companies like Southern Spars, Core BoatBuilders and Cooksons contributing to an approximate number of 400 apprentice Composite Boat Builders coming through the ranks each year. The New Zealand government also recognises it as a trade and is aiding with recognised Qualifications and financial support.
At least the more traditional trades like Metalwork/Fabrication, Carpentry ,Fairing/painting , Design§Engineering and Electronics are recognised and have easier training possibilities for anyone wanting to become qualified although I do feel could be better locally.
In 2015 we decided to take on our first two apprentices and made some enquiries with the local authorities if there was any help we could receive with making their development official like a GNVQ or City § Guilds in the UK and also any aid financially with Social security Tax relief. We were informed by our labour advisors that there was not really anything they could offer to help.
So since then we have implemented our own Training curriculum which includes gradings to determine rates of pay and also so we can see how the individual is getting on with their development of becoming a Composite boat builder by giving them a list of skills and requirements they should understand and be able to perform if they are to proceed to the next grade.
Obviously after their time as an apprentice they will have developed the skill set needed as a Composite Boat builder but they will not have an official document that is recognised internationally.
I have recently been put in contact with A.N.E.N (Associacion Nacional de Empresas Nauticas ) who seem to be recognising the potential to solve some of problems the local Governments face with youth un employment and lack of qualified people for the marine sector.
From what I understand they are aware and working on trying to solve this issue but the more people who are willing to voice their opinions on this matter the better for everyone involved.
Surely it has to make sense to be looking at developing a Marine school in the Balearics like in Falmouth or Southampton in the Uk offering young people the opportunity to become qualified in a trade whilst working at one of the local companies here.
I understand that this would take many years to implement in order to help make a difference but it has to start some where.
It is such a prestigious demanding industry that demands a high level skill set which takes time and effort to train people but I personally can’t help but feel the support and encouragement from the local authorities could be much better.
Left – Right
Jordan Wright 21yrs has been with us since 2015 when he joined us after studying a Extended National Diploma in Engineering at college in the Uk
Curtis Henry 29yrs is a mature student has been with us since 2016 but is also part of our apprentice programme
Campbell Breakey 21yrs, Joined us in 2017.