The UniMET project will use existing networks, with extensive knowledge and experience of maritime education and training (MET) institutions, whose participants have a vast number of years of experience in leading and participating in EU projects. The main aim of the project is to ensure that standards are met in the administration of MET programmes.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) developed the first standard for Vocational Education and Training (VET) programmes for merchant navy officers (STCW) in 1978. A series of model courses for these programmes was introduced in 1991 and were amended to include specific requirements in 1995. The standard was reviewed in 2003 and changes are being considered in 2010 in Manila. Despite these efforts there are no mechanisms for monitoring how these standards are being applied. European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has started to monitor STCW compliance, however many VET providers have been found not to follow many of the requirements.
The SOS project (2005-7) was very successful in developing a harmonised programme for the training of merchant navy seafarers and was implemented in Turkey in the TRAIN 4Cs project (2006-7). Since then, the programme has been strengthened with the addition of materials and maritime English standards from the MarTEL (2007-9), EGMDSS (2006-8) and EGMDSS-VET (2008-10) projects.
The partnership, working in collaboration with major awarding, accrediting and licensing bodies such as EdExcel, IMarEST and MCA cross-references and includes the international and local/national requirements into the UniMET programme (SOS, MarTEL, EGMDSS, EGMDSS-VET & TRAIN 4Cs) with the aim of embedding the programme initially into 5 partner maritime education and training (MET) systems across Europe (NL, FI, TR, ES and LT). UniMET is in line with and supports the priorities and objectives of the Lisbon treaty and Bologna accord regarding the harmonisation and standardisation of HE programmes in Europe.
UniMET will ensure that VET in the 5 METs are STCW compliant and meet the local and international requirements of the industry for all ranks and types of seafarer. A quality assurance and control practice based on a well-respected system for the delivery of UniMET will also be established to guarantee VET providers continue to follow the requirements.