The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) developed the first standard for Vocational Education and Training (VET) programmes for merchant navy officers in 1978. Seafarers are trained and certified by national administrations complying with the minimum standards set by International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers (STCW). Despite these efforts there are no mechanisms for monitoring how these standards are being applied in various nations and yet there is an issue for seafarers to get their certificates accepted/endorsed when they are attempting to work from one flag state to another. The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has started monitoring STCW compliance to contribute to safer operations. However, the issue persists as seafarers having a certification from one country flag not to be able to work in other country flag is exist as there are still many countries that they do not have mutual recognition or endorsement in place. There have been several attempts in the past to unify the certifications and endorsements however it did not resolve the issue in full.

The ENDORSEME project targets the development and provision of VET products and services including knowledge, skills and competence development to external stakeholders such as students, companies and governments. It develops flexible and learner-centred VET programmes, and that contribute to closing existing gaps in the access to training for working age adults to successfully manage labour market transitions. Additionally, the project contributes to the development of continuing vocational training programmes designed to be adaptable to the labour market, as well as programmes that facilitate the transfer, recognition and accumulation of learning outcomes leading to national qualifications. The ENDORSEME project ultimately facilitates the recognition of certifications of seafarers, including ratings, throughout Europe and worldwide. The integrated model that ENDORSEME project brings together all of the seafaring qualifications such as Certification of Competence, ancillary STCW certificates and seeks to enable each certificate to be mutually accepted by the European countries initially and later in global scale in a reactive manner. The model will also allows for greater cohesion between international and local requirements in MET in member states providing a higher quality and more attractive long-term VET programme.

The platform helps various ranks of seafarers with an option to investigate acceptance/endorsement of sea-going certificates. ENDORSEME project aims to:

– Identify the problems associated with recognition/endorsement of certificates in a questionnaire-based needs analysis and information based on the investigation of undiscovered areas,

– Develop a platform and complementary online tool for seafarers, shipping companies, MET institution to identify whether the certificates of seafarers are accepted/endorsed by one country to another.

The ENDORSEME platform cross-references the certificates available to seafaring profession to provide a higher quality system that suits to each individual member state. It also enables MET programmes to be kept up to date with changes to requirements locally and internationally with minimal disruption to other core areas of the programme. The quality assurance system of ENDORSEME platform will enables the good practices to be seen and transferred to other member states as well as maintaining a high quality of education, training and assessment.

ENDORSEME enables authorities to monitor the success of different systems and requirements through developing a quality assurance and control system for the issue of such certificates. It facilitates transfer of `good practices` between member states and worldwide while ensuring high quality programmes. The platform that brings all world authorities together enables the transfer of innovation to ensure that ENDORSEME maintains a high standard of recognition. ENDORSEME supports continuous personal development of seafarers in VET (Vocational Education and Training) for all seafarers in the maritime sector across Europe. ENDORSEME cross-references the STCW requirements thereby allowing seafarers to be more mobile in any European country thus promoting the Citizenship programme. ENDORSEME also incorporates the local and national requirements of each country therefore promoting action in Transparency and recognition of skills and qualifications between neighbouring and international countries. The partnership, working in collaboration with major awarding, accrediting and licensing bodies cross-references and includes the international and local/national requirements into the aim of embedding the recognition tool initially into 5 partner maritime education and training (MET) systems across Europe. Once developed the ENDORSEME tool will facilitate the endorsement of all certifications received from one county to another in the partner countries and Europe. A quality assurance and control practice based on a well-respected system for the delivery of ENDORSEME will also be established to guarantee National Authorities continue to follow the requirements.