The Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB) launched its Careers at Sea initiative to attract new talent into the maritime industry. Careers at Sea gives maritime volunteers the opportunity to act as Ambassadors, promoting careers in the sector to young people.
Rachel Gurnett, training and careers manager at MNTB, shares highlights of the programme from 2020 and explains what MNTB has been doing to help current seafarers progress in their careers.
Careers at Sea has always been in the business of shouting about the extensive opportunities available in maritime.
It's fantastic to see the creative ways our Ambassadors have supported the many Careers at Sea initiatives, how passionate they are, and how willing they are to help and encourage young people as they take their first steps on the career ladder.
In a year of change and huge disruption, we wanted to highlight just how important the Merchant Navy is and the key role it plays in our everyday lives. Despite the Covid-19 challenges, we continued to support its growth and development by reaching out to audiences that may have never heard of the merchant navy.
It's looked a little different, but the messages are the same; maritime is a career like no other, and you can be part of it.
Let me outline a bit of what we've been up to.
A large part of what we do involves visiting schools and youth groups around the UK, but with new Covid-19 safety measures being implemented, we had to think of other ways to communicate with our audience. That is where our virtual meetings became essential.
In April and May, through sponsoring companies, we reached out to cadets and Ambassadors, asking them to share their experiences of training and working in the industry. The videos, photos and stories we received were amazing (check them out on our social media pages – all virtual, all shared online, all still delivered, even when we couldn't visit face-to-face.
We partnered with companies that had a number of people with a maritime background to launch our first virtual roadshow. Originally planned as face-to-face, we put together a collection of videos to give a taster of the stories and insights of life in the Merchant Navy to encourage new talent to explore the possibilities of careers at sea.
It started in Wales, offering local connections to the partner company to help build new relationships with local schools and youth groups, and is now being extended further with new companies looking to sign up to support this great initiative.
There were plenty of activities from other parts of the industry to which we also contributed to Maritime Careers hosted online career information videos and an event where industry representatives could inform others about their specific sector.
We hosted a webinar through the UK Chamber of Shipping for careers advisers across the UK and virtual college open days were offered whenever school visits were impossible to arrange.
Using these platforms meant we could bring the stories to peoples' doorsteps and this is what inspires the next generation. This is what draws people in, asking them to check out what we do and telling them how they can be part of it.
Like any industry, it can be a challenge for those already in maritime to know where to start when thinking about career development.
We wanted to help, so this year we spent some time looking a little further into the accessibility of information regarding careers and routes into other jobs and sectors for those with longer term plans or facing a new career direction.
We launched an interactive version of our Maritime Careers Map on our Careers at Sea and Beyond website. Here, people can see where and how people have developed their careers both onboard ship and shoreside.
We asked people in the industry to share how they went from sea to shore – what skills they took with them, where they went and what their experiences were. The idea was to inspire and expose areas people may have not considered before.
It's a live document, with the capacity to add profiles, areas of work and new roles as the industry moulds and adapts to new challenges. As a work in progress, we are keen to keep developing this interactive map to support those coming into the industry and those wanting a change of direction. Every career pathway is unique, and we want to help each person with their own.
There's a whole host of tools and resources out there that you can use to help move your career in the right direction and this career map is just one of them. Are you unsure where to go or what to do? Take a look and see where you could go. Maybe you can offer your own story? Is there an area we could explore and develop more? Let's hear from you!