Mersey Maritime - A driving force for the maritime industry on merseysideMersey Maritime - A driving force for the maritime industry on merseyside

By Mersey Maritime

Ex-forces personnel can fill the maritime skills gap, says Mersey Maritime CEO

Industry body Mersey Maritime says ex-service personnel could be crucial in solving the local maritime sector’s skills shortage over the next few years.

The Wirral based organisation, which represents hundreds of maritime businesses across Liverpool city region including Peel Ports, Atlantic Container Line (ACL), Royal Haskoning DHV and Bibby Group, has signed the Armed Forces Covenant, committing to helping ex-services personnel.

First Sea Lord

Chief executive Chris Shirling-Rooke signed the Covenant with Britain’s First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC, at a high-level industry dinner hosted by Mersey Maritime to celebrate the First Sea Lord visiting Liverpool. Admiral Sir Philip Jones has been the First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff for over two years and spoke to the guests about his role and responsibilities within the Naval Services and broader Armed Forces.

The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC said: “Mersey Maritime’s work facilitating engagement, addressing skills shortages and communicating the maritime case to a broad audience provides a real boost to businesses and organisations across the North West who share a common interest in the maritime domain.

“I’m delighted that Mersey Maritime have publicly expressed their support for our servicemen and women by signing the Armed Forces Covenant. By tapping into the broad skills base and experience of our service leavers the maritime community stands to benefit as much as our people, so many of whom call Merseyside home.”

The signing of the Covenant was also witnessed by Commodore Philip Waterhouse, Naval Regional Commander Northern England and Isle of Man, and Geoff Nuzum, regional employer engagement North West RFCA. The dinner was attended by Mersey Maritime members and sponsored by MAS Optimisation, who are a lean management consultancy that also run a programme providing a link between industry and former services personnel.

Significant growth

Liverpool city region’s maritime sector is worth almost £4bn annually and employs more than 28,000 people. The sector is predicting significant growth over the next decade and will need thousands more skilled people.

Mr Shirling-Rooke said: “People in the Army, Navy and Air Force are trained in a whole range of skills during their period of service to their country. Many of those skills, particularly in area such as engineering, logistics and people management, are the kinds of skills our members are crying out for.

“We would urge all our members and businesses across the local maritime sector to consider signing the Covenant and supporting our armed forces”

Vital support

Already supported by 407 local authorities across the UK, the Covenant focuses on helping members of the armed forces community have the same access to Government and commercial services and products as any other citizen.

This support is provided in a number of areas including education and family well-being; having a home; starting a new career; access to healthcare; financial assistance; discounted services.

Mersey Maritime’s signing of the Covenant comes just weeks after it also signed up to the Women in Maritime Charter, which aims to increase the number of women at all levels in the maritime sector.

Mr Shirling-Rooke added: “Our maritime sector is going to need many more people over the next few years. It makes perfect business sense to cast its net as wide as possible when it comes to recruitment.”

Photographs by Al Disley Images 

By Mersey Maritime

Mersey Maritime takes the lead in national Women in Maritime campagin

Mersey Maritime is spearheading a national campaign to increase the number of women in the industry.

The Women in Maritime Charter

The Women in Maritime initiative was set up by Maritime UK, and Mersey Maritime are part of the Taskforce that is addressing the lack of gender diversity in the UK maritime sector.

This week saw the launch of a Charter, which creates a framework to challenge companies to make progress on diversity and will be supported by a suite of ‘toolkits’ or resources to help companies realise those targets. Companies joining the Women in Maritime Charter will be required to agree an ‘action plan’, setting out individual targets for each participating company.

Since Maritime UK’s Women in Maritime Taskforce called for companies to engage in its work, over 60 companies have signed a pledge designed to signal intent on gender diversity, including local businesses Peel Ports Group, CMA CGM and Complete Training Solutions. Having consulted those companies on the design of the Charter, the Taskforce is now calling for Charter ‘pilots’ to come forward and agree their action plans.

The Northern Charter Launch

Yesterday Mersey Maritime hosted the Northern Launch of the Charter at Liverpool Town Hall for 80 delegates. The event was opened by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson; a former seafarer himself, Joe signed the pledge and spoke about the importance of maritime and the River Mersey to the region: “This magnificent river runs through our city region and it runs through our veins…we have to demand more equality in the sector and encourage women to be part of the maritime community”.

The Launch celebrated the thriving maritime industry within Liverpool City Region which contributes over £3.5bn to the region’s economy and employs over 28,000 people, hearing the career journeys of three women within the industry; Angie Redhead, Head of City Assets at Liverpool City Council, Ruth Wood, Commercial Manager at Mersey Maritime and Kirsten Blood, Quality Assurance Inspector at Cammell Laird, the purpose being to try and breakdown some of the misconceptions about the industry.

There was also a panel discussion about the charter, represented by Julia Bradley, Sales and Marketing Director at Peel Ports Group, Kathryn Nielson, Director at Merchant Navy Training Board, Helen Kelly, European Editor in Chief at Lloyds List and Tom Powell, Managing Director at Complete Training Solutions.

Julia Bradley said, “There is a fallacy that maritime is dark and archaic but we want to highlight that it is actually very technology led”.

A key focus of the discussion was the importance of education and demystifying the maritime industry from a young age, Kathryn Nielson said “If this campaign is to succeed then it requires a huge cultural change – we need to start with the younger generation and capture the hearts and minds of 8-10-year olds, before they develop any preconceived ideas about male and female work roles”

The event was closed by Sue Terpilowski, Chair of the Women in Maritime Taskforce who told the attendees: “The world is changing and this campaign represents a golden opportunity for the maritime sector. Please get involved because if we are united, we can get this done”.

Government backing

The Women in Maritime Taskforce has the support of the Department for Transport and Maritime Minister, Nusrat Ghani MP who said: “Our maritime sector keeps Britain thriving, but it’s missing out on a wealth of talent. No industry is a closed shop and there are simply too few women working in rewarding maritime careers, both at sea and on shore. It’s great to now see a real drive from companies wanting to attract women into roles, from captains and chief engineers at sea, to senior executives on shore, which will in turn help unlock the potential of their businesses.”

To find out more about the Women in Maritime Charter please contact

By Mersey Maritime

Liverpool ready to regain its status as the UK’s ‘gateway to the world’, Mersey Maritime chief to tell global audience

Maritime Maritime chief executive Chris Shirling-Rooke will tell a global audience how Liverpool city region is now home to the most important industry cluster in the UK and was ready to lead the UK’s post-Brexit strategy.

Mr Shirling-Rooke is one of a number of heavyweight speakers, along with trade minister Baroness Fairhead and former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott, at the International Maritime Forum – part of Liverpool International Business Festival – on Thursday, June 21.

The festival, the third the city has hosted, is welcoming 27,000 visitors and 150 delegations from across the world during its two-week duration.

Festival highlight
The International Maritime Forum, organised by Shipping Innovation – creator of London International Shipping Week, is one of the highlights of the festival with the maritime industry critical to the success of the UK’s post-Brexit trade strategy.

The forum will also include a session on Women in Maritime chaired by Helen Kelly, Europe editor in chief of Lloyds List and will issue a call to action is to get businesses to sign up to the Women in Maritime Pledge.

Mr Shirling-Rooke will take part in a key session, focusing on why maritime clusters have become so important. Liverpool city region’s diverse maritime is now worth an estimated £4bn and in April, David Dingle, chairman of Maritime UK praised Mersey Maritime’s “collaborative approach” which, he said, was a model for the rest of the UK to follow.

At the forefront
‘On the opening day of the International Business Festival, the director-general of the CBI, Carolyn Fairbairn reminded us that Liverpool once accounted for 10% of the world’s trade.

“The Maritime Forum will give us access to business people and maritime industry leaders from across the world and that is a golden opportunity to get the message out there that Merseyside is ready to regain its place as the UK’s gateway to the world.”

During the conference Lord Prescott and Baroness Fairhead will also discuss how the Northern Maritime Powerhouse impacts the UK’s trade growth goals.

Women in Maritime will be the final session of the day and Ben Murray, director of Maritime UK will present the work of the Women in Maritime taskforce and it’s key priorities of recruiting, remunerating, progressing, and retaining women in maritime roles.

Ex-forces personnel can fill the maritime skills gap, says Mersey Maritime CEO
Mersey Maritime takes the lead in national Women in Maritime campagin
Liverpool ready to regain its status as the UK’s ‘gateway to the world’, Mersey Maritime chief to tell global audience