Frank Antich y Amengual, Directeur d’étude-Economie maritime. Agence d’Urbanisme et de Développement Economique du Pays de Lorient

In goal 5 of the AIVP Agenda 2030, we highlight the need to invest in human capital from an early age. It is necessary to promote the interaction of children and youngsters with port community and professionals. In order to do that, one of the best tools are Port Centers, with which an educational program can be developed. However, there are many types of Port Centers, either physical ones, with buildings hosting exhibitions, or virtual, such as it is the case of Lorient, that we will discover in this article. Frank Antich y Amengual, Head of Research at AudéLor, explains the importance of cooperation and two concrete project that bring the port closer to the students.

Port development strategies are important, whether they concern markets, traffic, or structural port investments. But port territories would not exist without the expertise of the many men and women who work day in, day out, to keep port cities alive and kicking. That human capital, inherited from the civilizations that discovered and conquered the oceans, is the vital link in the entire global port logistics chain. The impact of the current pandemic is a reminder that without these people, who often work unseen, maritime shipping – and by extension ports themselves – face huge functional difficulties.

“Carnet de Bord – Logbook” for children

One of the Port Center’s roles is to encourage the population to take an interest in careers in the maritime sector. As in many maritime cities and regions, the residents of Lorient are often unfamiliar with the many different port jobs that exist. Following many discussions with partners and feedback shared with the Port Centers of Genoa and Bilbao at meetings arranged by AIVP, Lorient Port Center has chosen to target children aged between 6 and 12, through a series of articles and illustrations presenting port careers. Lorient Port Center is “dematerialised” and has no physical site. For this reason, we have decided to invite people to learn more about jobs in the various maritime fields locally, through interviews with professionals illustrated in a fun and artistic way. Together with our partners, we are proposing to showcase four or five jobs every year. Lorient Port Center covers all of the ports in our territory (fishing port, commercial port, ocean racing port, marina), and through these interviews the port center is aiming to educate young people about the wealth and diversity of the different professional careers available. With the creation of a Logbook – Carnet de Bord (in paper and digital formats), Lorient Port Center is introducing young readers to maritime professionals. A harbourmaster, crane operator, laminator, fisher, and marine commando all talk passionately about their jobs and their expertise.

Illustrations of the “Carnet de bord”. Author Monsieur QQ.

Visiting the port

Another initiative supported by Lorient Port Center to promote human capital is the work developed and organised by Lorient’s Maison de la Mer. Since it only exists virtually, Lorient Port Center naturally relies on strong partnerships with other organisations that act as maritime mediators. The Maison de la Mer works with all our ports and the tourist board to arrange tours of all of the ports and present maritime careers to members of the public, and in particular local schools. It also offers specific educational projects for all teachers in the Lorient region. This collaboration enables us to reach out to a much wider target audience, whilst optimising our resources. These various initiatives promote the work of the men and women involved in the day-to-day activities of our ports, and help forge links with future generations of maritime professionals.

Port visits. Maison de la mer.