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Read on to discover how diversity and mental health challenges are being tackled in the Maritime sector.

Industry Insight

Maritime UK, the umbrella body for the maritime sector, celebrates the Tees and Hartlepool Port Users’ Association (THPUA) and leading North-East maritime businesses committing to shifting the dial on mental health provisions and gender equality across their organisations.

The THPUA, an independent body representing Teesside’s shipping industry, along with members Able UK, AV Dawson, Casper Shipping and Cockfield Knight, have signed the Pledges to champion diversity and inclusion across their membership, employees and the wider community.

Both pledges form a key pillar of Maritime UK’s Diversity in Maritime Programme. The objective of the Mental Health in Maritime Pledge is to ensure employee mental health and wellbeing is considered at the highest levels across the sector.

The Women in Maritime Pledge calls upon executives from maritime organisations to build an employment culture that actively supports and celebrates gender diversity, at all levels, throughout their organisation and their industry.

By signing the pledges, companies and other organisations in the sector are making a public commitment to improving mental health and wellbeing for their workforce and creating a positive culture that promotes gender diversity. Organisations are then challenged to report progress against the pledge.

Garry O’Malley, Chair of the THPUA said: “We absolutely recognise the challenges we face as an industry; the workforce which is ageing is male dominated and mental health remains a challenge for the sector, particularly for seafarers who have faced extended periods away from their families due to ongoing travel restrictions during the Covid Pandemic.

“Whether working in roles at sea or ashore, the maritime and shipping sector remains a fascinating industry to be part of, but we certainly need to raise its profile in order to attract more young people and make it more inclusive.

“The THPUA and its members have been doing a huge amount of work in this regard, working with partners in the education sector and supporting major initiatives such as the North East School of Shipping, which is the first of its kind outside of London. We recognise there’s more to do and so we’ve signed Maritime UK’s pledges for gender diversity and mental health to illustrate our ongoing commitment to this; celebrating what we have achieved to date but also challenging us to do more. In addition to the THPUA signing the pledges, Able UK, AV Dawson, Casper Shipping and Cockfield Knight are leading the charge as our first cohort of members to individually sign the pledge on behalf of their own respective organisations.”

Nikki Sayer, Director, Casper Shipping and Maritime Skills Commissioner said: “There is no doubt that our industry is changing with new technology and ultimately new roles. To future proof our industry we need to attract new talent from across the UK to fill these new positions. Casper Shipping is proud to be part of this initiative which we hope will help us all attract new highly skilled talent from a diverse group of people.

“Casper Shipping are passionate about levelling up the diversity agenda and already have a 70:30 ratio within the business but we always strive to improve this.”

Chrissie Clarke, Head of Diversity and Operations, Maritime UK said: “Maritime UK is delighted that THPUA, along with its first cohort of members, have signed the Mental Health and Women in Maritime Pledges. The Pledges are an important step to celebrating gender diversity and increasing the quality of mental health and wellbeing provisions across the sector. We are calling on more organisations to get involved and commit to improving diversity and inclusion, ensuring all current and future employees have a sense of belonging.”

Karla Hawdon, HR Manager, Able UK said: “As we emerge from the pandemic, I’m sure that we have all learnt a great deal about increased opportunities in flexible working and, at the same time, the mental health challenges that many are facing. As a frequently ground-breaking business we are looking forward to engaging fully with the Diversity in Maritime Programme.”

Louise Croce, Head of HR, AV Dawson and Cockfield Knight said: “We already have a number of initiatives in place to support our employees’ mental health, including the ‘Thrive’ mental health app, mental health ambassadors, occupational health support and employee assistance programmes.

“By signing the pledges, not only are we challenging ourselves to do more, but it also provides us with a network of like-minded companies who recognise the importance of these issues and want to provide strong health and wellbeing support for their employees.”

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