Spreading the word about sea careers

Rachel Gurnett from the Merchant Navy Training Board is encouraging UK maritime professionals to volunteer to help promote careers at sea to young people.

careers at sea ambassador

This year, I started a new role as training and careers manager at the Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB). I joined from the Marine Society, where I developed a passion for the maritime sector and honed my understanding of the qualifications and motivation that seafarers need in their careers. 

As part of my new(ish) role at the MNTB, I inherited the Careers at Sea Ambassadors programme. This programme enlists volunteers from the Merchant Navy to visit schools, youth groups and other community groups, delivering inspirational presentations on behalf of the MNTB’s Careers at Sea initiative. Nautilus is a proud supporter of the scheme. 

The well-established volunteer team boasts individuals from all backgrounds, industry pathways and ages. Whether freshly qualified cadets, retired or working ashore, they’re all investing in the future of maritime careers. 

I confess, before I started my own career in this industry, I underestimated the impact seafarers have on our daily lives. My vision for Careers at Sea is to not only raise awareness of what seafarers do for us, but also shed more light on the breadth of opportunities available for those who work – or have worked – at sea. 

The British government has recently invested heavily in careers education across the country, and in January 2018 launched the official UK Year of Engineering, which has provided many new opportunities to promote marine engineering as a career. 

At Careers at Sea, we’re looking to develop our resources, making them more interactive and engaging. We’re also starting to attend larger careers fairs and to collaborate with other sectors. 

Once again, we’ll be supporting National Careers Week on 4-9 March 2019, so watch out for events near you and don’t forget to throw your support behind it online: re-tweet, attend and share. During the week, Tidal Tuesday (5 March 2019) will be making a comeback. It’s a chance for maritime businesses and organisations to throw open their doors, connect the public with what they do, and explain why it matters and why working within this sector is so exciting. Shipping companies give tours of their vessels to local school groups, and other maritime businesses have hosted stalls at local careers fairs – get involved in 2019 if you can. You can also support on the day through social media and spread the word about what we are doing, using the hashtag #TidalTuesday.

Our Ambassadors will, of course, play a focal role in how we continue our Careers at Sea work. It’s inspiring to see the passion with which our Ambassadors present a career at sea – that passion commands the audience’s attention. 

If we’re serious about seeing the industry grow, we need to keep aspiring for more. Here’s my challenge for you – how can you get involved? 

You can volunteer one hour a year – more if you can – and become an Ambassador. Whether at a careers day in schools, colleges or big organised fairs, a school assembly presentation or a visit to your local youth group, you could make a big difference to the future of UK shipping. 

With the backing of SMarT Plus funding for cadetships and huge opportunities available for ratings and apprentices, we could see more young people taking on the adventure of a life at sea. Whatever pathway you chose, wherever your seafaring journey has taken you so far, come and tell your story. We want to hear from you! Share your journeys with us and be that inspiration. 

This article was originally published in the November 2018 edition of the Nautilus Telegraph.

For more information contact:

Rachel Gurnett

Training and Careers Manager

020 7417 2825 / 07471 357035