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

Former service people can fill the skills gap, says leading consultant

By Mersey Maritime

There are around 150,000 ex-service men and women across the UK seeking work and they could provide the solution to the chronic skills shortage in many industries.

That was the message from Roger Jones of Mersey Maritime member MAS Consulting who is looking to help retrain former service personnel to adapt the valuable skills they already possess for use on “civvy street”.


Royal Air Force

Roger was addressing the August breakfast Face2Face networking event at Mersey Maritime in Birkenhead. He worked in the Royal Air Force for 31 years as a logistic manager helping manage logistics and transport hubs in the UK and around the world.

Towards the end of his time in the RAF he was also a manager in the continuous improvement team responsible for training and ongoing development at RAF bases.

Now, via MAS, he delivers continuous improvement programmes for automotive clients such as Jaguar Land Rover and BMW. He has also worked with toymaker LEGO in Denmark.

Valuable skills

And it is through a programme called Mettle that he wants to offer a link between industry and former service personnel who are keen to offer their transferrable skills to companies of all descriptions.

“Ex-service people have an inherent skill set but don’t always have the specific skills and qualifications they need to work on civvy street,” he told fellow members at the Face2Face.

“In many cases they possess hugely valuable skills – they are leaders, managers problem-solvers. We are going to be asking members at Mersey Maritime to offer people opportunities or work experience and help us upskill people.”

Global businesses

Also speaking at the Face-2-Face was Debbie Simpkins from InXpress and Neil McNeil from Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement.

InXpress is a global franchise operation specialising in shipping and logistics. It works with major carriers such as DHL, with which it has a partnership, and UPS and FedEx, to transport items of all shapes and sizes via air, sea and road.

Local customers include Everton Football Club and Royal HaskoningDHV, also a member of Mersey Maritime. Debbie said: “We ship goods across the globe and we operate from 90 franchise offices in the UK.”

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement is a family-owned German company with a history stretching back 150 years. Neil oversees both the Isle of Man and Newcastle offices with a combined workforce of 100 people.

The company is multifaceted global maritime services business. It owns or co-owns around 90 commercial vessels, including 50 container ships and offers many other services including global supply and movement of crew, as well as training, shipbuilding and conversion, hospitality, insurance and recycling.

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Mersey Maritime is the representative body for the Maritime Sector and related industry sectors operating across the Liverpool City Region. We work with businesses of all sizes and in all locations to develop strong, market-responsive supply chains and promote Liverpool’s maritime industry as a world class Centre of Excellence.


Mersey Maritime is one of Europe’s most successful maritime cluster organisations, representing the interests of over 1700 Maritime, Logistics and Energy businesses on Merseyside and beyond.

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Former service people can fill the skills gap, says leading consultant