Aqualex Blog

The MATES Strategy Baseline Validation Workshop (Brussels, 28th May), relevant to AMC Thematic Group and Pilot Experience involvement  (VET FOR NEW SKILLS, ESCO)

Points made by EU representatives (DG MARE & DG EMPL) discussed by the panel with comments from the audience:

-        2019 will bring:

-        A new Europass CV to be launched, based on evidence-base information

-        Skills intelligence is being conducted for the recognition of credentials

-        A learning app to be developed containing training records

-        Big data analysis of skills needs is being developed by CEDEFOP. It would be useful to share information about the trends in the specific sectors.

Questions posed by the audience:

-        1. Blockchain certification systems linked to learning pathways to be introduced?

  • Graduate tracking does not include at informal learning BUT the new Europass CV will include results of skills acquired through transversal and informal learning.

-        2. Recognition of occupations and the possible problems of certification

  • The Pilot Experiences
  • MATES Strategic Plan regards as essential and integrates the participation of VET centres, universities, industry and administration, as the best means to guarantee the recognition of the outcomes (two regional administrations are part of the proposed strategy and have already undertaken certain relevant commitments).
  • The aim is to prove that it is perfectly feasible to create a comprehensive Strategic Plan that can be adapted to the future skills needs of each European country.

-        3. Awareness of skills needs

  • From the HE point of view it is important to make the students aware of the skills that industry expects them to have.
  • Awareness of the hazards of over-qualification .
  • The importance of integrating industry and VET training. MATES is developing a regional analysis within the partnership, looking at the kind of expectations which exist at the community level
  • The interoperability of different EU initiatives and their transferability to the users. ESCO constantly updates the occupation list and the information is publicly available. Skills / competences/knowledge are being continuously generated, a challenge requiring constant attention.

-       4. Risks within the present situation

  • New technologies and new jobs may evolve quickly with unexpected and unforeseen consequences

    5. The roll-out of the MATES strategy

  • The DG Research participant asked how MATES would create an impact on training from research projects in order to measure how training opportunities are being approached in this kind of project.
  • MATES has several connections with the research projects community. Research and innovation projects, their participants and outcomes are key sources of information about trends in science and new technologies that are drivers of change.
  • The Columbus methodology, itself a direct outcome of an H2020 CSA, is being adapted for use in MATES.
  • The most important Ocean Literacy initiatives being considered for inclusion in the MATES strategy, are also H2020 initiatives.

Final comments highlighted the fact that of the women who comprise 50% of the global population, only 1% are employed in the maritime sector.


 MATES partners have held a number of workshops over the past few months, engaging with stakeholders and experts to validate MATES baseline reports and to decide upon the future direction of the MATES strategy. These workshops were:

  • ‘Offshore Renewables, Green Technologies & Innovation Management’ organised by AQUATERA in Edinburgh, UK (29/10/2018)
  • ‘Innovation management and gender balance at shipbuilding sector’ organised by MATES coordinator CETMAR in Vigo, Spain (04/12/2018)
  • ‘Digital Skills, shipbuilding and off-shore renewable energies’ organised by UGent in Flanders, Belgium (12/12/2018)
  • ‘VET standards and governance, Innovation management at Offshore Activities’ organised by FRCT in Ponta Delgada, Portugal (14/12/2018)
  • ‘Green Technologies, Ocean literacy, shipbuilding’ organised by CERTH in Thessaloniki, Greece (19/12/2018)

A final workshop ‘Achieving Impact of Pilot Experiences using Knowledge Transfer’ was held by AquaTT in Dublin, Ireland (13/03/2019) exclusively for partners. The workshop was devoted to the COLUMBUS Knowledge Transfer methodology, showing how it could be applied to the upcoming MATES Pilot Experiences, currently being designed by MATES partners. The MATES 11 Pilot Experiences will be launched in 2020.

Dublin V.Wshop 2019
MATES Knowledge Transfer Workshop


Skills intelligence to boost maritime technologies

The MATES Strategy Baseline Validation Workshop was held in Brussels on 28th May to present and validate the results of the first 16 months of work. 

 Points made in the MATES presentations: 

MATES has made significant progress setting up a European-wide network of relevant stakeholders actually willing to collaborate in the strategy-building process. 

- More than 180 experts now form part of the network, sharing their experience on how to tackle the requirements of the new maritime skills, their professional recognition, and the education and training tools which will be needed 

- A Baseline Report identifying current skills gaps in shipbuilding and offshore renewables value chains was presented; its findings came as a result of an extensive bibliographical review, background data and inputs from the above-mentioned expert network from the shipbuilding, offshore renewable energy and education sectors. 

-The report includes the mapping of the existing occupational profiles and relevant educational programmes and training at EU level

- The report also put forward a set of foresight scenarios, which had been designed following two Delphi consultations with the experts to identify relevant trends and paradigm shifters. 

- A complete set of action lines proposed for the shipbuilding and offshore renewable energies following these results was then prioritised during an online e-voting process, to better undertake strategic decisions. 

- Eleven Pilot Experiences are being planned to test the strategy in consistency with those action lines. 

- The methodology as outlined ensured that all relevant stakeholders were well-represented in the process to shape the strategy. and the response during the workshop showed the support for the strategy.

Both targeted sectors (shipbuilding and offshore renewables) were properly represented; the invited audience was well balanced and included organisations from   industry, research, administration and Training Centres. There were lively discussions on several aspects of the MATES baseline strategy above before the validation ratings were carried out.

 In conclusion, the MATES strategic plan, after the above presentations, was evaluated by the audience and validated with an average score of 8 points out of 10.

The MATES panel carrying out the rating procedure, followed by the results as shown on screen.

Strategy validated for both sectors (40 votes): 

  • Shipbuilding: average rate - 8/10
  • ORE: average rate - 8/10


Pic for AMC

AMC is pleased to announce that the winner of this year’s Lindsay Laird Award is M. Nicola Rhyner from the Zurich University of Applied Sciences. The winning poster is entitled “Assessing microsatellite markers to assess post-stocking survival of hatchery-reared Atlantic trout (Salmo trutta) in tributaries of a pre-alpine lake”.

The judges (Dr Kjell Maroni (Norway), Prof. Elena Mente (Greece) and Prof. Lluis Tort (Spain) agreed unanimously that his approach showed real innovation in respect of environmental protection and the management of autochthonous or allogenous freshwater species. In addition, the poster presented very well identified messages for the reader. Although the techniques used are well known, the judges recognised that they are among the forefront of the current laboratory technologies, and were used to assess field and nature challenges, particularly in relation to the identification and conservation of particular species in the tributaries of main rivers.

The award was presented on 10th October by Dr Camilla Priede of Sheffield University, Lindsay Laird’s younger daughter who commented, “I was particularly impressed by how in his poster Nicola managed to take a very sophisticated topic and convey it with complete clarity. My career is focused upon widening access to the sciences and science education and I recognise that it is very hard to write about very complex topics in a very simple way. Not many scientists have this skill at such an early stage in their career. My mother always aimed to ensure that her work was accessible to a broad audience, and as such Nicola was a most appropriate winner of the award.”

In addition to the iPad donated jointly by AQUATT and the AMC Consortium, M.Nicola Rhyner will also receive his choice of books from the co-sponsors of the award: Wiley Blackwell, Springer and 5M Publishing.

You can follow the 5M publishing article on its website.

AMC is very proud to have highlighted the work of young researchers in aquaculture, which we have been doing for the last eleven years. A further important point is that previous winners have all done well in the years subsequent to winning the award, publishing the award winning poster as a peer-reviewed publication and going on to produce further innovative work which is recognised internationally.

We are very grateful that Wiley/Blackwell has contributed to this by sponsoring the event from the start, by the presence of a representative from time to time but mainly by donating a book prize from The Wiley/Blackwell aquaculture book list.

We hope that you will continue to sponsor the award once more.

Kind regards

Margaret Eleftheriou

This year Lindsay's daughter Camilla, now a lecturer at Sheffield University, will present the award on the 10th October.

Pic for AMC

On 28th August the 11th anniversary of the Lindsay Laird Award was celebrated in Montpellier, France.

This year’s winner, Irene Brandts (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)received a iPad Mini, books from the 5M publishing company, Springer and Wiley Blackwell from judge and presenter Ms M.Eleftheriou (AQUALEX Multimedia Consortium, co-sponsor of the award with the Irish company AQUATT).

The winning poster was entitled ‘Do Differences in Coping Styles Influence Stress Response after Vaccination in Gilthead Sea Bream?’

Student winners of the award for innovation in aquaculture have so far come from Belgium, Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Germany and Brazil.

This historic university city, close neighbour to Palavas-les-Flots, long known as an important location for French aquaculture, was very suitable as a venue for the EAS 42nd International Conference. But the city was also a happy choice for the prestigious Lindsay Laird award. Dr Laird not only translated G.Barnabe’s seminal 2-volume work on AQUACULTURE from French into English (1990), but also paid several visits to the city while working on the AQUALEX glossary.

AMC presentation and Round Table discussion at the stakeholder workshop held in Aberdeen on 17th May.


The topic? Occupational Profiling as a Mechanism to address Skills Gaps. Slides from the presentation can be found here.

 2 slides for MATES

Summary of the round table discussion:

  • It is important to find out how much the industry is consulted with regard to designing academic and other vocational courses.
  • It is also important for academic and vocational courses to have a feedback loop whereby their graduates work in the field in which they were trained. This is an important asset.
  • There is often a pressing need for graduates to have short training courses. Such short courses should fit into the Skills Portfolio. People should be able to show evidence or validation of what they have done, though not necessarily in terms of ECVET credits.
  • It is very important to have industry feed into the mechanisms for filling skills gaps.
  • It is extremely important for people in the sector to have a diverse set of skills. There is a need for multidisciplinary approach because of the unknown unknowns. When you look at a wind turbine training course. It can be quite detailed, but it might be interesting to do a wind turbine intro course for someone in other specialities- e.g. Consents and licensing or ecology.
  • Staff could earn the right to do short term sabbaticals, after a period of time, eg. after two years in post, a staff member could do a two-week training course in a subject not directly related to their work, or gain experience as an intern in another company
  • Training mechanisms needs to maintain a level of flexibility and/or customisability. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to addressing skills gaps. Mechanisms used by very large companies such as Google, whereby staff have opportunities to work on a project entirely separate from their usual work for one day a week in order to share experiences and learning with other staff and learn about other projects, are simply not feasible for smaller companies.
  • There is nevertheless a need for any new training mechanisms to be recognised or certified at a national or EU level

MATES is part of a European drive called the New Skills Agenda, aimed at reducing the mismatch between the skills people are taught and the skills required to meet the needs of rapidly changing labour markets. MATES, which specifically addresses skill shortages in the offshore renewable energy sector and the ship building sector, is gaining momentum with five stakeholder workshops completed across Greece, Portugal, the Netherlands, the UK and Spain. Project partners from CETMAR, ASIME, AQUATERA, and INDIGO Med also held a workshop at the European Maritime Day conference on 1 June in Burgas, Bulgaria.

Workshop Moderator Rosa Fernández Otero (CETMAR) said that the conference had provided MATES with an important opportunity to engage with key stakeholders from Europe’s maritime community and in particular, with professionals from the Black Sea region.

The workshop discussed:

  • the identification of technological challenges and training needs within the sectors
  • the stakeholders’ perception of these sectors
  • the opportunities which can be gained from Ocean Literacy activities to improve the sector's image.

These discussions promoted a genuine understanding of the current situation and main trends in the Black Sea region. The findings from these workshops will feed into the MATES long-term strategy for the offshore renewable energy and shipbuilding sectors.

The full Press Release (June 2018) can be found in the MATES Media Intranet and website


The MATES project recently kicked off its series of maritime-focused workshops and announces that five workshops are to take place across Europe. The workshops will focus on how the evolution of the maritime sector is being influenced by technological advancements and labour market needs, in particular the need for new skills and new ways of delivering training and education.

The aim is to bring maritime experts together to create a forum for dynamic discussion, to help identify future activities required to meet these needs in the short, medium and long term. Industry experts in various fields have been invited to speak and the workshops will provide opportunities for networking. The MATES consortium welcomes professionals from a range of backgrounds to attend the workshops; in particular from the offshore renewable energy and shipbuilding sectors, education and training, scientific community, and representatives from companies and public administration. Further information can be obtained from the various workshop contacts (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

The outcomes of the workshops will feed into to a long-term strategy aiming to tackle the skill shortages in the maritime sectors of offshore renewable energy and shipbuilding, and in doing so, to contribute to a more resilient labour market. Further information on the project and activities is available at:

Full Press Release (may 2018) can be downloaded in the Media News Section.

AMC Ltd Language and Aquatic Science work is included in the Blue Skills Economy Expert Group as an example of best practice in its Lifelong Learning Group, for its " Articles on Positioning Lifelong Learning, Generic skills needs for marine sector graduates. Promotion of Language Learning, Student Mobility Measures, Master and Ph.D. developments, eLearning developments and case studies". The articles appeared in the Springer Special Issue of Aquaculture international ADVANCES IN TEACHING AND LEARNING IN AQUACULTURE and can be accessed here.

AQUATT and AMC Ltd celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Lindsay Laird Award at the EAS 41st International Conference, held in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Student winners of the award for innovation in aquaculture have so far come from Belgium, Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Germany and Brazil. This year’s winner, Francisco Gardiola from the University of Murcia, Spain, received a iPad Mini, books from Wiley Blackwell, Springer and the 5M publishing company from judge and presenter Professor Johan Verreth (seen below with the winner at the final session of the Conference.

The winning poster was entitled “Generation of a brain-derived cell line from Fundulus hereoclitus and its use for antiviral immunity studies".

More information on the award and on Lindsay Laird herself can be found at, and on wikipedia. There is also an interesting article in 5M's  online publication the fish site.


Contact us

Please contact AMC Limited for any queries:

  • Hot line: +353 1 874 7088
You are here: Home News