Maritime UK: supporting International Women’s Day

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We’re delighted to be supporting International Women’s Day today.

It’s a day for the sector to shout about the fantastic careers found in maritime, and to encourage more women to join. Below you will find a number of examples from women who’ve done just that.

It’s also a day for us to think collectively about what action we need to take to address the gender imbalance we all know exists in maritime. Given that, I warmly welcome the recent establishment of the Women in Maritime Taskforce, and the energy currently found across the maritime industries in making real, tangible progress.

I am determined that this Taskforce not only makes recommendations, but delivers. It’s initial focus is on data – understanding where we are today in terms of gender balance, pay and progression. We’ll then have a solid benchmark from which to measure progress and prioritise the next phase of work.

It’s crucial that we get this right, and there seems to be real momentum at the moment.

Let’s work together to make that change.

David Dingle CBE, Maritime UK Chaiman

‘Achieving a balanced workforce at all levels in the maritime sector will undoubtedly improve culture, behaviour, outcomes, profitability and productivity’

The maritime sector held the first meeting of its new Women in Maritime Taskforce last month.

Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani MP joined the first meeting, demonstrating government support for the initiative. At the meeting she said:

“This taskforce will be crucial in opening up the wealth of career opportunities in the maritime industry to women around the country.

“The UK has one of the most competitive maritime sectors in the world and with only 3% of the workforce being women, it is vital more take advantage of the exciting opportunities the sector has to offer.

“Today’s meeting will start the journey towards better understanding equality and inclusion in the sector and I want to see many more women taking up careers in maritime.”

The first taskforce meeting resolved to initially focus on:

  • data – getting a better understanding of the current picture across the sector
  • communications – enhanced sharing of case studies, news and initiatives
  • networking – online and events to bring Women in Maritime together
  • work streams – recruitment, progression, remuneration and retention

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‘The need for change’

The experiences of some women in the industry testify to the need for the maritime industry to instigate change. Nicola d’Hubert, global head of brand and external relations at Lloyd’s Register Marine & Offshore, recalls a time in her maritime career when she felt that her gender made a difference. She was working in China on an expat posting as part of her nautical career.

“The entire system, at that time, was built around the expat employee being male,” she remembers. “Not only did that mean that you had to actively push for access to the same benefits, it was also a challenge socially as the only female expat in the management team. I am not saying that my colleagues weren’t fantastic… but you didn’t feel automatically accepted and part of that world as you were changing the status quo from a system and process perspective. It took a lot of extra effort although the overall experience was a positive one.”

(Photo of Nicola d’Hubert with industry colleagues from Carnival and RCCL at Seatrade Cruise Global in Ft Lauderdale this week)

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‘I am surrounded by like-minded, happy people and am living at sea’

After suffering some considerable personal adversity, Daisy enrolled on the Princes Trust Team programme and received a grant to begin an apprenticeship as an outdoor instructor working with disadvantaged children. She decided then that she wanted to progress into yachting and discovered UKSA. She now has an amazing career ahead of her. Daisy shares her story.

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‘It makes perfect economic sense to proactively target women across all job types and levels’

The Women in Maritime taskforce members are passionate about the benefits of raising the number of women in the industry. “Any industry that chooses to overlook, and fail to include, over 50% of the population when seeking talent and expertise is making a huge mistake,” says Sarah Dhanda, chief officer of Membership and Services at British Marine. “It makes perfect economic sense to proactively target women across all job types and levels.”

She adds that British Marine members are “always” discussing skills shortages and how hard it is for them to recruit good-quality personnel. Encouraging more women to join would help address that: “There are huge opportunities for women in the marine sector at the moment, given that almost every part of the sector is reporting skill shortages, so everybody is looking to recruit good quality candidates,” she says. “There is always a challenge in overcoming some of the more old-fashioned attitudes and bias that still prevail in some quarters, but times have changed and I am pleased to say that the range of opportunities available for women has never been greater.”

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Meet the apprentice: Keeta Rowlands, ABP

Keeta Rowlands is one of the first people to complete the 4-year Marine Operations Apprenticeship designed by Associated British Ports.

She now works in Southampton as a Multi-Purpose Marine Operative with a principal role in Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) operating the radar and ensuring that ships make their way safely into the port.

Because her training was broad-based, Keeta is also coxswain on the patrol and pilot launches when she’s not in the VTS tower. Keeta always loved the sea and her career began with summer jobs in a marina. She started her apprenticeship with ABP in 2012, and learnt a wide range of practical skills from mooring ships to basic ship handling, with a nine-month spell in a nautical college to learn the theory side of the industry.

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“In my 34 years in this industry I have never let gender get in the way in my career”

Nichola Silveira, General Manager, Logistics, DP World London Gateway

“There are so many functions within in the Shipping industry, each offering great scope for an individual to develop specialised knowledge in a sector we all depend on.’’

Sandra Briegoos, Compensation & Benefits Consultant, HR Consulting from Spinnaker Global


Resource

Apprenticeships allow you to bring new talent through the ranks and train your team with the skills they need to help your business succeed. Download.

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