Maritime Minister visits Roadshow

The Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani yesterday was in Belfast, visiting the 1851 Trust’s Maritime Roadshow for Girls in Partnership with the Department for Transport at Belfast Harbour Commission.

105 girls aged 11-14, from schools across Belfast, visited Belfast Harbour Commission for a fun, interactive day of science, technology and engineering learning about the incredible and inspiring careers the Maritime industry offers.

It is widely accepted that there is a forecast shortage of skilled STEM workers. In addition, women are significantly under-represented in technical and engineering careers and the gender divide is clearly seen in school subject choices. The WISE campaign report than women make up just 24% of the STEM Career workforce, whilst the Maritime Skills Alliance report that women make just 16% of serving seafarers in the UK.

Under the Department for Transport, The Government have launched their long-term strategy ‘Maritime 2050’. At the heart of Government there is a vision for the maritime industry’s workforce. Within three decades they want to create a diverse workforce that is equipped with the right skills and is able to nimbly adapt to rapidly changing technology.  To realise this vision, they urge industry take action now and do more to enthuse young girls about STEM subjects and maritime careers at sea and on shore.

During her visit, Ghani spoke to the girls about the inspirational role models she works with on a daily basis in her capacity as the Maritime Minister; she also outlined the potential opportunities a Maritime Career could offer the students in Belfast and beyond.

Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “I was delighted to visit Belfast to meet some absolutely inspirational young women and hear about their ambitions in the maritime sector. A key part of growing our world class maritime industry is its people, and by tapping into the UK’s brightest talent we will boost Britain’s reputation for years to come.”

In helping to promote Maritime careers, the aims of the Roadshow day seek to increase; participation, contribution and confidence of girls in STEM subjects at school; whilst introducing them to positive and inspiring female Maritime role models.

CEO of Belfast Harbour, Joe O’Neil added: “The maritime sector offers excellent career opportunities for everyone and Belfast Harbour supports projects to help pupils develop STEM skills. We also recognise that, although things are improving, women are still under-represented in the sector generally. Women play key roles throughout Belfast Harbour and are thriving in areas once seen as traditionally male. The majority of our colleagues in Belfast Harbour Police and the port’s Vessel Traffic Service, for instance, are female. Through initiatives such as the ‘Women in Maritime’ taskforce we will continue to promote opportunities and support the development of people with talent and ambition, no matter their background or gender.”

Following this event in Belfast the Roadshow will be visiting Edinburgh and Portsmouth, having toured several UK coastal cities, including: Dover, Newcastle and Blackpool with the support of leading Maritime Organisations including; Maritime UK, The Royal Navy and The Women in Maritime Taskforce.

To find out more about the Maritime Roadshow for Girls programme, please visit: www.1851trust.org.uk/projects/girls-stem-day/

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