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TÜV Rheinland partners with blockchain platform to help unemployed seafarers impacted by COVID-19

filipino seafarer

Certif-ID, a global skills community that uses blockchain for its networking platform has partnered with TÜV Rheinland Philippines to help Filipino seafarers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Joining them are members of the National Maritime Polytechnic and UNESCO, Compass Training Centre, PTC Holdings as well as other government agencies.

TÜV Rheinland, founded over 150 years ago, is a leading global, independent assessment and inspection company with revenues of €2.1 billion ($2.4 bn) in 2019. Certif-ID aims to provide workers with the necessary skills, the proof of such skills (e.g. digital certificates) and increased recruitment visibility. As the digital certificates are ‘embedded in blockchain technology’, they are expected to be fraud-proof and easily verifiable, and as such, are proof of skill. 

On 15 July, TÜV Rheinland and Certif-ID launched the ‘Next Step Seafarers: Skills Development to Employment’ initiative, aiming to support pandemic impacted seafarers in the job-search process. 

The pandemic has severely impacted seafarers around the world. According to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), global travel restrictions have demanded some seafarers to stay aboard their ships, unable to be repatriated back home. As of early May, over 26,000 Filipino seafarers were still awaiting repatriation, and the pandemic disruption has even been the cause of unilateral termination of contract. In terms of employment impact, over 50,000 have been left jobless. 

According to Co-Founder and Managing Director of Certif-ID Timothy Miller, the “labour market is changing” and it is uncertain when the “industry will return to the pre-COVID levels.” 

The initiative is expected to aid Filipino seafarers returning to the workforce by building a digital community wherein seafarers can create digital profiles in order to search for work. Blockchain tools such as Certif-IDs Skill Pass would be used, with seafarers able to emphasize their skills, provide certificates, and share work documents, amongst other things, all of which are stored in their digital portfolio. Objectives of the partnership include providing seafarers with upskilling guidance, improving the accuracy of recruitment, increasing seafarer visibility and ultimately, streamlining talent sourcing.

Credentialing to aid recruitment is a popular blockchain use case. Several education groups are involved, including the American Council of Education, which received government funding, and the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), which is involved in multiple initiatives. Those include the IBM Learning Credential Network and the Velocity Network. Plus, the World Employment Confederation announced a blockchain project for recruitment where the members include Adecco, Kelly Services, Manpower and Randstad.

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