Speaking at a careers fair aboard the Northern Lighthouse Vessel PHAROS, the minister officially opened a £100,000 programme to boost maritime careers through 10 roadshows around the UK, funded by government.
Through the new scheme, girls aged 11 to 14 will be paired with inspiring women from the sector to teach them about the full breadth of careers available before they make their GCSE choices. This aims to get more of them into STEM subjects as they make the next step.
The Maritime Minister has also announced funding to better understand and address the skills gaps and improve careers promotion in the maritime sector, setting out today:
• £40,000 for the ‘Maritime and Me’ campaign - a new industry-led project aiming to increase and retain female talent in the maritime sector
• £300,000 for a new Maritime Skills Commission to identify existing and future skills needs of the sector, informing the training curriculum and ensuring it evolves over time
• £250,000 for a new single industry body that will raise awareness of maritime careers in schools and better coordinate their promotion sector wide
This comes as the Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledges to bring shipbuilding back to the UK and strengthen the Royal Navy, set to create thousands of jobs in the British shipping industry over the next decade.
Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani said: "I am immensely proud of the vibrant range of jobs offered by the maritime industry, and I know that the 186,000 people who work in the sector will agree that it is a truly fantastic place to build a career.
"We need to ensure this fantastic industry is fuelled with the brightest talent from across the country, and that means tapping into the potential of our diverse society and increasing the number of women working in maritime.
"In doing this we will boost British standing in maritime globally, allowing us to successfully lead the charge to a bright new future for the UK."
The ‘Maritime and Me’ project will use a public campaign to show girls of all ages the fantastic range of opportunities in maritime – from jobs at sea to engineers on the shore.
It will work with WISE, a community interest organisation, to create an online quiz where girls and young women can see which roles would suit their personalities, supported by case studies of women working across different sectors, including maritime.
Minister for Women, Victoria Atkins, said: "Girls usually outperform boys in STEM subjects at GCSE. Yet, compared with boys, almost half the number of girls feel a STEM subject is their strongest. This means industry is missing out on top talent.
"Our women of the future need role models. This fantastic project, which pairs girls with inspiring women from the maritime industry, will show them how pursuing careers in these areas can lead them to great things."
Sarah Kenny, Vice Chair of Maritime UK said: "It’s been fantastic to see so many people hearing first-hand what a rewarding career maritime can offer during London International Shipping Week.
"With the sector globally forecast to double in size, there really is a job for everyone – and with typical pay significantly above the national average, our people are well rewarded.
"We warmly welcome government’s funding to support careers in maritime, and we’ll continue working across the country to attract tomorrow’s talent."
As part of this focus on the maritime workforce, the DfT is also investing £140,000 in high quality support for British and international seafarers across the UK, as well as working with charities to ensure workers receive pastoral care on their return from sea.
This all delivers on commitments set out by the Department for Transport in the Maritime 2050 Strategy, which outlines its ambition for the UK to become a world leader in the move to clean maritime, reducing the environmental impacts of shipping and supporting UK businesses to grow.
More young people will be supported to embark on a career at sea, thanks to a suite of new policies announced by Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani.