The Minister explained that people are the maritime industry’s most important asset and without them the country would reach a standstill. What is more, she added that the flow of UK trade is of key importance to the economy, meaning that the shipping industry must continuously improve the way it attracts, retains and trains its staff.
Whether that is through working to improve pay and conditions, boosting skills and diversity, or easing the some of the pressures such as long periods away from home which can put a strain on seafarers mental health
Nusrat Ghani mentioned.
However, she added that despite the importance of greater diversity, not all parts of the sector have lived up to their responsibilities on all these fronts. In this aspect, she highlighted that today 96% of workers are male, stating that no industry can be at its best when it recruits from such a small pool.
For this reason, she urged companies to sign up to the Women in Maritime charter and pledge to change the industry. Moreover, the Minister said that it is her responsibility to champion the maritime industry and its workers, which is why People is one of the seven themes in the Maritime 2050 Strategy, which was launched in January.
What is more, Ms Ghani focused on the preliminary results of the survey conducted by Maritime HR and Nautilus into the support available to seafarers looking to move into shoreside positions. She specifically said that the maritime industry must improve in supporting employees in their jobs:
[It must] help seafarers who leave their jobs, to adapt to a new world of work when moving from life on the waves to life on land. Three quarters of seafarers reported they do not receive any assistance when transitioning from ship to shore-based work