Policy brief: Knowledge and skills gaps of young workers in port engineering and operations: a case study of Makassar New Port
The Makassar New Port was built in 2015 as a national strategic project to improve the maritime capabilities of Indonesia. It is designed to become the largest port facility outside of the island of Java and represents a great opportunity to provide job opportunities for young people in the province of South Sulawesi.
The port is located in an area with a large agricultural base and an industrial zone with huge potential to drive economic growth and encourage more efficient trade of goods. It needs to be supported by good infrastructure and significant investment in human resources. This study examines the education, skills and training needs in two specific areas – port engineering and port operations.
These are two highly specialised professions. Operational workers work in the port operations, while engineering workers work in the construction and port facilities section, such as civil engineers. The study does not consider mechanical or electrical engineers who maintain operational equipment.
Young people already make up the majority of the workforce at the Makassar New Port with more than 12 percent of port workers between 15 and 24 years of age. It increases to half for those aged between 25 and 40 years old. This study explores the knowledge and skills gaps of young workers’ in both areas and compares them with the industry’s expectations.
The research team surveyed port workers who mentor entry-level graduates, fresh graduates, port entry-level employees and stakeholders – particularly senior managers from MNP, Biringkassi Port in Pangkep (a smaller port north of Makassar) and cement company PT. Semen Tonasa. The mentors provided insights into what knowledge and skills they expected from their young port engineering and operations workers.