As an island nation, the UK has always depended on seafarers, shipping and the wider maritime industry for our prosperity. A staggering 95% of everything the UK imports comes by sea. The UK ports industry is the second largest in Europe, handling more than 500 million tonnes of freight each year, as well as over 60 million international and domestic passenger journeys.
The sector is estimated to directly employ around 118,000 people (British Ports Association). This week is Seafarers Awareness Week, which provides a great opportunity to raise awareness of the vital contribution sea ports, harbours and associated services make to the UK economy and the many types of employment that are available within the sector.
In order to engage with many students and young people in the local area and to promote opportunities within the industry, Shoreham Port hosted an Employment Forum yesterday, bringing together key contacts from local schools and colleges that work with the students providing careers advice, work experience placements and enterprise opportunities.
A vast range of interesting roles were showcased that are not only available locally within Shoreham Port, but also throughout the industry, both nationally and internationally. Shoreham Ports Director of Corporate Services, Nicky Goldsbrough presented to the group, emphasising the importance of soft skill development, transferable skills and work experience; and committed to offering work experience opportunities to each of the schools and colleges throughout the year.
Port employees from the marine, engineering and marketing departments helped to bring the opportunities to life by speaking about what attracted them into the industry, their career development to date and plans for the future. The presentation was followed by a boat trip along the canal, providing an insight into the dynamic environment the staff work in and a closer look at the Port’s operations.
Faye Russell, Enterprise Co-ordinator at Coast to Capital LEP commented “It was great to be at the Shoreham Port Employment Forum on Wednesday, it’s so important for schools to see the breadth of offer that we have for young people in our local organisations and the tour really helped bring all those jobs to life.
It’s very difficult to know all the jobs available in a business and having the opportunity for the school to visit the Port and actually see what that means is so important and it’s really great to see Shoreham Port being so proactive in supporting our local young people, and the Enterprise Adviser Network.”
Sarah Linsdell, ICT Teacher at Steyning Grammar School commented “Shoreham Port presented us with a fantastic prospect of seeing the career opportunities that the Port had to offer. The boat trip gave us a totally different view of seeing the number of companies that they work with and the commodities coming into the Port. Initiatives like this allow schools and companies to work more closely together and prepare our students for the workplace.”
Throughout Seafarers Awareness Week there has been considerable activity in UK Ports to support the campaign and raise awareness. This has been an area of focus for the British Ports Association HR & Employment Network, which has been facilitating increased collaboration between Ports.
Nicky Goldsbrough, Chair of the HR & Employment Network said “Attracting and retaining a diverse mix of people into the sector is a priority for all ports. We are all working together to raise awareness of the vital role of ports and the rewarding career opportunities that are available in the sector.”
To find out more about the excellent enterprise events that are taking place in ports throughout the UK, visit the British Ports Association website www.britishports.org.uk/news/ports-promote-careers.
To find out more about Seafarers Awareness Week please visit www.seafarers.uk. Keep up to date with events taking place this week via Twitter @SeafarersWeek.