A new campaign will be launched in March to inspire more girls to take up maritime careers that involve science technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. Maritime UK, the umbrella organisation for the maritime industry, will hold a series of roadshows aimed at school students throughout the year.
The Maritime Roadshow for Girls is being funded by the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB). It will launch to coincide with National Careers Week (6-11 March), with the first event taking place in Hull on March 7.
These will be followed by events throughout the rest of the year in Liverpool, Fleetwood, Barrow, Aberdeen, Belfast, London, Cornwall, Southampton, Wales, and the Midlands. At the events, students will be able to take part in hands-on STEM activities, and will be given information about possible careers in the maritime industry.
Jess Huxley, Maritime UK Programme Executive (Careers & Outreach), said: “The maritime industry is going through huge changes as we work towards Maritime 2050. It is vital that we have a pipeline of future talent from all regions and all backgrounds to fill the demand. This will only be possible by making young people aware of the opportunities available.”
She added: “It is widely recognised that females are underrepresented in STEM careers, therefore it is important to give female students a space to explore all the options available to them. I look forward to a year of inspiring girls to consider STEM careers in the maritime sector and to continuing the events in the future!”
According to data from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), women make up 29% of the global maritime workforce. Just 2% of maritime crew are female, and just 10% of search and rescue teams are female. Overall, female employment in shipowning companies stands at 34%.
Stuart Rivers, Chief Executive of the MNWB, said: “Working in the maritime sector is hugely rewarding, with fantastic career prospects. The sector has so much to offer and it’s crucial that the next generation are aware of the opportunities available – and this roadshow is a great step to achieving that.”
He added: “It will also pave the way to encouraging more women to join the industry which has always been male dominated. Latest figures show out of the world’s 1.2 million seafarers only two per cent are women, and that desperately needs to change.
“It is hoped this project, long term, will inspire more women to join the maritime sector, so we look forward to watching the impact it has.”
The IMO states that it also has ongoing efforts to improve the gender diversity of its workforce, including the development of a database of female experts within the sector. Each of these women are available for speaking engagements on their experience and particular area of expertise, and will lead to more female voices being heard in the sector.
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