Maritime UK, the umbrella body for the maritime sector, is shining a spotlight on the Diversity in Maritime Programme, one year from its launch.
Diversity in Maritime aims to promote a fair, equal, and inclusive UK maritime sector that embraces diversity and creates a supportive and open environment for all to be able to achieve their potential. The programme works closely with the Maritime Skills Commission to ensure the sector has a continuous pipeline of highly skilled people from diverse backgrounds and experiences to support the vision for the sector as set out in Maritime 2050.
The Department for Transport’s Maritime 2050 Strategy states: “The maritime workforce of the future will be diverse. New roles, new technologies and a changing image of the sector will draw in people from all backgrounds across the entire UK” and recommended that Maritime UK build upon the foundations laid by the then Women in Maritime Programme to look at diversity, and crucially, intersectionality.
To achieve these goals, the entire UK maritime sector must work together. Building on the success of Women in Maritime and projects such as the Women in Maritime Charter, the Diversity in Maritime Programme was launched to drive forward diversity and inclusion best practice in recruitment, retention, progression, and support.
The programme includes four, safe-space networks: Women in Maritime; Mental Health in Maritime; Pride in Maritime; Ethnicity in Maritime, with more to be announced in the future.
These networks bring together individuals and allies from across the sector to collaborate, discuss and break down barriers being faced. Key activity highlights from the last 12 month include:
- The programme welcoming its first sponsor, Aberdeen Harbour Board
- A series of webinars held covering unconscious bias awareness; public speaking in a virtual environment; mental health and wellbeing; talking about race at work and how to make maritime welcoming for the LGBT+ community involving over 1000 participants from across the sector
- The number of Women in Maritime charter organisations doubling and the initiative expanding to be the Diversity in Maritime Charter
- The first Mental Health benchmark survey was launched which led to the establishment of a Mental Health Pledge. The Pledge has been signed by over 60 executives
- A Mental Health toolkit was developed to assist organisations share best practice provisions
- The Interview Pool was relaunched to ensure organisations have access to diverse interview panels
- Work has commenced on the first LGBT+ industry roundtable
- The Ethnicity in Maritime Book Club was launched and meets every 6 weeks
- A series of Women in Leadership discussions were commenced
- The Diversity in Maritime Toolkit has continued to be developed and expanded to share good practice, policies, and guides.
Today, the programme is delighted to share the first Diversity in Maritime Annual Report and launch a Conference and Events Panel Pledge. The new Pledge will act as a pillar of the Diversity in Maritime Charter and calls upon businesses to have diverse and inclusive conference panels and events. The Speaker Bank is being relaunched to assist Pledge signatories to fulfil this commitment.
Ben Murray, Chief Executive, Maritime UK said: “In just a year, the Diversity in Maritime Programme has delivered real value. First and foremost, in providing a series of safe-space networks for colleagues to come together, but also in offering robust toolkits and best practice to enable organisations across the sector to take solid steps to make ours a more inclusive sector. This journey has only just begun, and it is incumbent upon all of us to rededicate ourselves to its mission – the mission set out in Maritime 2050 – and grow and deepen its work. We therefore call on companies across the sector to get involved with the programme.”
Debbie Cavaldoro, Co-Chair of the Taskforce, said: “Diversity and Inclusion is critical to business and is the bedrock of success. When people are allowed to achieve their potential in their role, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, everyone benefits, and everyone can share in the success– and ultimately the business performs better. Our Pledge signatories and Charter organisations are leading the way with helping move equality forward in maritime. We call upon more organisations to get involved with our programme and help us ensure that everyone has a seat at the table.”
Sue Terpilowski OBE, Co-Chair of the Taskforce and Chair of the Women in Maritime Network, said: “I am proud to be Chair of the Women in Maritime Network and Co-Chair of the Diversity in Maritime Taskforce. Since the launch of Diversity in Maritime we have seen our Women in Maritime Network grow and the rapid development of four new networks. Our Taskforce ensures we work intersectional and ensure that the sector builds back better. Today we are launching our conference and events pledge and I urge everyone to sign, this is a visible way we can show the diversity of the maritime sector.”
Maritime Minister Robert Courts said: “Our maritime sector has been a critical force in keeping this country moving during the pandemic, and as we Build Back Better and focus on our recovery, I am committed to ensuring that our work on diversity and equality is at the heart of all we do.
“The Diversity in Maritime Taskforce rightly shines a spotlight on the excellent work done so far and how we can all create the space to build a balanced, diverse sector.”
This article first appeared in International Shipping News.