Blue Smart consortium developed a Final Report on Blue Economy Employees’ Needs

With ongoing globalization, organizations are increasingly confronted with worldwide competition. In order to build and sustain their competitive advantage, the knowledge and expertise of an organization’s staff needs to be seen as a critical strategic resource. In order to develop solid basis for the Blue Smart project’s training course, Blue Smart consortium conducted a deeper analysis to obtain a clear insight into the current situation of sector and the people employed in the blue economy. The goal of the survey was to provide deeper analysis of the current situation within blue economy in Croatia and especially in the County of Zadar, considering the fact that the County is a leader in blue economy sector. According to the data provided by the County of Zadar, the employment in the fisheries sector in the County of Zadar has tripled (up to 208%) in the period 2001-2011, while at the national level the number of employees in the sector increased by 49% in the same period. Data tables have also shown that total marine aquaculture (mariculture) production (in harvested weight) of the Zadar County grew from 45.1 % in 2011 to 61% in 2014 by comparison with total Croatian mariculture. Having a large potential in shellfish farming (16 farms) but producing only 0.5 – 6.8% of total Croatian shellfish production in period 2011-2014. Also, about 95% of fish fry production in Croatia comes from the Zadar County, making it generally the leading County in fisheries and aquaculture in the country.  Since there has been tremendous growth in the sector, the need for skilled workforce in all its segments intensifies at the same pace.  Therefore, a strategic investment in sector-specific knowledge and skills is crucial on all levels.

Having in mind that in the County of Zadar as well as in the whole Republic of Croatia, currently there is a big shortage of a skilled workforce which will increase in the coming years, as the sector will grow, project consortium has identified companies from blue economy sector which are directly interested in the project results. Small, medium and large sized companies’ directors, managers and workers of the blue economy sector were asked to fill out the questionnaire so that consortium would be able to analyze their current knowledge needs. Additionally the target group has been enlarged to students and unemployed people with the prospective of working in the sector in the near future. Questionnaires were conducted on local as well as on the national level. All relevant actors in the blue economy field participated and provided relevant inputs for the training needs in aquaculture. In total, 273 questionnaires were filled. The conclusions of the survey can be found in the “Final Report on Blue Economy Employees’ Needs” which will be uploaded on the Blue Smart project webpage. However, in general we can affirm that scope and objectives of the project were confirmed by the results of the questionnaires. They showed a lack of skilled people that are willing to improve their knowledge but usually limited to do so. Therefore the establishment of the Training Course will be fundamental. The newly created professional staff must be able to continue the development of the fishing sector on the principles of sustainability using a scientific and interdisciplinary approach.