CONNECT: the bridge between academic & professional Shipping, By Katia Galouka
Greece is experiencing a brain drain, due to a high rate of young-adult unemployment, even in the shipping sector which is the country’s cash cow. Ms. Irene Notias, the Managing Director of Prime Management Services and instigator of CONNECT, believes that the new work force, must be supported by Shipping professionals and the Greek Ministries of Competitiveness, Employment as well as primarily that of Shipping, must invest in this fresh workforce now, because it is imperative to sustaining the excellence & competitiveness in Greek Shipping in the world-wide arena.
According to Ms. Irene Notias and Ms. Katia Galouka, the new coordinator, CONNECT’s scope is to bridge the Greek shipping “professionals-in-the-making” (who have little to no links to the shipping work environment) with interns and entry levels placements in Greece’s shipping companies.
How this idea came about?
The concept of CONNECT, evolved over the years, because Ms. Notias was always being approached by friends, family, students, grads and professionals requesting jobs. Students and grads would ask, if she could use her network, to recommend them for a position, even without payment in the beginning, just to enter the industry and learn hands on.
The willingness to learn shipping, from the actual work environment, reminded Notias of her high school and college days in NYC, where she worked while studying. Considering how much she gained that way, she wanted to help provide the same opportunities or access to the Greek shipping community. So she would “connect” them herself, taking out time from her own 24/7 Marine Fuels and Lubs Purchasing business. Since this took up her time, she and a friend of hers, HR expert, Mrs Angeliki Livanou thought it best to interview and provide a more accurate presentation of these candidates to Notias’ network.
Meanwhile, coincidentally, Notias would hear comments from her clients, how short staffed in administration they were. A light bulb idea came then: to make this more official as a project: that would “connect” the two sides — ready & willing to learn through training manpower — to shipping companies administration departments, via process and procedures offered by professional HR advisors from Connect. That’s CONNECT!
What’s the scope and it is being accomplished?
This “bridge” is offered to young-professionals-in-the-making that are keen to learn the work ethic that the Greek shipping founders had which made them kings of the seas and thereafter ship owners; young-professionals-in-the-making with dreams to work in shipping but no opportunity are matched to CONNECT member shipping companies and maritime cluster. CONNECT provides the screening and guidance through interviews and self-development professional seminars at minimum fees which cover its operational costs. Topics such as “Work performance in shipping offices” and “Job search strategy” prepare the CONNECT candidates with specific admin tasks and tips for each internship position. CONNECT (will be a NPO in the near future) wants to create a “pool of talented people” but for this to happen, a robust base is needed. Perhaps this can be funded by the Shipping Companies and the Maritime Cluster by becoming CONNECT Members. Welcome aboard!
Το φυλάττειν τα αγαθά χαλεπώτερον του κτήσασθαι – Δημοσθένης
To filatin ta agatha xalepoteron tou ktisasthe – Demosthenes
It is more difficult to sustain than to build –Demosthenes