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Shipbuilding slump wreaks havoc on marine architecture-related majors

All News 18:35 July 18, 2016

CHANGWON, South Korea, July 18 (Yonhap) -- The ongoing extreme slump in the country's shipbuilding industry casts dark clouds over the future of students specializing in marine architecture and ocean engineering, particularly in schools in the country's South Gyeongsang Province, industry sources here said Monday.

The region is home to the country's Big Three shipyards -- Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. and Samsung Heavy Industries Co. -- and many other smaller shipbuilders.

The shipbuilding-related majors have long been popular during the industry's boom for the promise of high wages and employment stability. But now graduates of the majors are facing difficulties in finding jobs, and one school in the region has even given up recruiting new students for the department, the sources said.

Changwon National University here, which launched the major in 2008 when the shipbuilding industry was flourishing, is now in deep trouble because of its yet-to-be-hired graduates, according to the sources.

Marine architecture majors in their final semester there, in general, have shelved their expectations of entering the country's Big Three shipbuilders.

A top graduate in the school who had passed the final job interview at one of the Big Three has now virtually given up on being hired, as the company recently called off its employment plans amid a tough restructuring process led by the government.

"For now, faculty members are recommending students find jobs in the machinery sector for the time being and to get hired by the Big Three afterward," Park Young-ho, a professor at the university, said.

Kyungnam University is also finding itself hard pressed to get its students hired.

Some 30 of 40 seniors in the marine architecture and ocean and IT engineering department are currently making employment preparations via an academic-industrial project, but still their long-term job prospects are in doubt.

International University of Korea in Jinju, 434 kilometers south of Seoul, which established a shipbuilding-related major in 2012, did not recruit new entrants to the major for next year, which is tantamount to a virtual closure of the department.

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