Training & employment: the human factor

To safeguard maritime expertise in Germany, shipping companies need qualified young professionals at sea and on shore.


For maritime training, the VDR is continuously working with officials of maritime schools and universities as well as other educational providers to further develop and future-proof maritime training profiles. As part of its “Holiday Voyager Programme”, VDR – in partnership with the German Maritime Centre (DMZ) and its members – organises internships on board ships to enable high-school students to experience the unique aspects of working at sea.

VDR also plays an active role in shaping the policy framework for training and education of seafarers in Germany. On a national level, this for example pertains to issues of ship manning, whereas at the international level, it relates mainly to issues regarding the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006), which sets minimum global standards for working and living conditions on board. VDR is also deeply involved in devising and implementing this milestone for seafarers, and its further development is being closely monitored by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Onshore, VDR is equally committed to further develop and improve the study programmes at universities and other educational entities. The goal of these efforts is to combine nautical and engineering experience with knowledge from the fields of business administration, economics, law and technology. Shipowners are taking their responsibility to safeguard maritime expertise in Germany seriously.

Together with the efforts of the Stiftung Schifffahrtsstandort Deutschland to foster vocational training in navigation and engineering, VDR has succeeded in safeguarding maritime training in Germany to a large extent - despite a severe crisis in maritime shipping that has persisted for more than a decade. The apprenticeship training ratio in shipping is still at an above-average level compared to other industries – and should remain so, too.  In recent years, on average roughly 1,200 junior seafarer staff in some 70 to 80 companies have been prepared and trained for jobs on board ships of German shipping companies.

Are you interested in a career on board? Or would you like to know which training profiles exist or which paths can lead to a career in shipping?

You can find all the answers (in German only) at, the joint training website of the VDR, the services union ver.di, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, and the federal states of Northern Germany.

Seafaring is a career with a future