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Rachel Gurnett, training and careers manager at the Merchant Navy Training Board, explains how the MNTB Careers at Sea Ambassadors programme has adapted during Covid to continue inspiring young people to become maritime professionals
This year has once again highlighted the importance of the industry and its vital role in our everyday lives. Throughout the global pandemic, seafarers have continued to deliver goods all over the world, provide essential transport as well as supporting vital research; and that’s just some of the work that is done. In short, we have needed seafarers.
Our Careers at Sea programme has worked not only to increase awareness of what the Merchant Navy is, but also how people can start their own career pathway within it. Over the years, Careers at Sea has visited schools, supported campaigns and attended events all over the UK – but this last year has been different. With our usual methods unavailable, we had to adapt. Our message was the same; we need seafarers. But our delivery had to change.
I was amazed at the response we had from cadets, seafarers and supporters of career promotional programmes, in spite of the disruption people were facing. The passion was still clearly felt from all those that helped to step up and keep the message going – videos of cadets sharing their experiences, seafarers speaking about their own journeys in webinars, colleges offering insights into training, to name a few. Visual and audio engagement allowed us to continue sharing the career pathways into the Merchant Navy and what that looked like for those who had been there themselves. Our Careers at Sea Ambassadors and supporters provided brilliant examples of how this could be done, sharing their own experiences, passions and unique career journeys.
A highlight for me was building the virtual careers platform with National Careers Week, as well as the content on our dedicated page on the Careers at Sea website, where you can see the videos that were created, the photos and stories shared and how we were able to effectively display the opportunities to schools and colleges all over the UK. This resource is still available now, remaining due to popular demand.
We also developed our collaboration with wider industry partners, such as Maritime UK with their Maritime Careers platform. Working together allowed us to expand how we speak about the breadth of opportunities within the industry, drawing together resources and knowledge from across the sector. This helps people understand they are not just finding a job but an exciting career in the maritime industry, from working aboard to coming ashore.