Ports industry to launch ‘People in Ports’ skills campaign

Ports industry to launch ‘People in Ports’ skills campaign

A 'People in Ports' skills campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the ports sector and its importance to local communities and the broader economy, is set to be launched by the British Ports Association (BPA) and Port Skills and Safety (PSS), the UK’s professional ports health and safety membership organisation. 

It follows the recent publication of the Government's People Route Map, published by the Department for Transport, which expands on the Maritime 2050 Strategy launched earlier in the year.

The BPA and PSS have been working closely in the development of a ‘People Route Map’ which includes a set of short-term, medium-term and long-term actions and commitments from Government to support maritime skills.

Recommendations include short-term goals of tasking industry body Maritime UK to promote maritime careers and raise awareness in schools.

Welcoming the route map, Sara Walsh, Corporate Services Manager at the British Ports Association, said: “It's important we continue to support the sector to encourage more young people to see the immense value in maritime careers. We will be doing this by working closely with Maritime UK's new Careers and Promotion and Outreach Manager who will be tasked with coordinating and delivering this enhanced careers promotion programme.

“This campaign, which will be the first of its kind for the ports sector, will also aim to attract the next generation to think about a career in ports and the broader maritime sector.

“We are also pleased to see some overlap with our own Port Futures programme which looks to examine global emerging trends and key issues in the ports and shipping industries including technology, infrastructure and skills. We look forward to working with Government, Maritime UK and other industry bodies to implement the recommendations put forward.”

It is becoming increasingly apparent that traditional sea going experience is not always required for those who wish to pursue a career in the ports sector, the route map notes, including those in the business services side. There is also now an increased focus on the language and images used in job description, company websites and collateral to ensure the sector is able to appeal to a wider audience. It is hoped this in turn, will start to both address the skills shortages and attract those who may not have otherwise have thought about a career in the industry.

Apprenticeships are one particular approach that the industry has invested in to enhance routes into port careers. The sector has developed apprenticeships for port operatives, marine operatives, marine pilots and harbour masters, bringing new diverse talent that ports will need to continue to prosper.

At an individual organisation level, employers are working in partnership with providers to deliver enhanced learning and skills. One such example is the Maritime Leadership and Development apprenticeship pioneered by Bristol Port and Weston College. Employers are also providing practical and vocational training. For example, Port of Blyth delivers high quality skills across the port and marine, warehousing and logistics, heavy industry, subsea and offshore energy sectors.

Port employers are working with their local communities both to give something back and let people new to the industry see the opportunities for quality careers in ports. The Port of Tilbury’s award-winning Logistics Training Academy in partnership with the Tilbury on the Thames Trust (TTT) has introduced state of the art, ‘fully immersive’ training simulators. These are part of their ‘Attention to Logistics’ training programme and bursary scheme which was created to help ex-service men and women and their families back into work through the ports and logistics sector.  

Richard Steele, Chief Executive of Port Skills and Safety, said: “We are wholly committed to the Maritime 2050 principle; that people are at the heart of the strategy. Ports and maritime will continue to provide rewarding and enriching careers.

“We need to ensure that we encourage new talent into our sector, improve diversity and embed qualifications and skills now and in the future. We look forward to working with Government and all the stakeholders to deliver the ambitious plans of Maritime 2050 and the People Route Map."