Blog by our Special Projects & Events Lead, Derrick:
As part of our exciting campaign with Maritime UK, we delivered our charity’s first Maritime Skills Showcase to Wyvern College in Hampshire, a region where maritime is prominent because of its geography and heritage. With over 200 year 10 students tuning in from their homes and the college, this interactive virtual event spotlighted the jobs of five speakers, sparking students’ imaginations around the range of career possibilities this sector offers and encouraging them to draw connections between their learning and the world of work.
Our speakers connected with us virtually from different regions of the UK, representing the national reach of maritime and helping to broaden the horizons of students with their varied roles. They included a ship broker who offered a fascinating display of countless vessels and crafts across the world’s oceans caught in real time; a partner of an award winning bespoke boats building company; and an onboard sales and services manager for one of the world’s leading ferry operators Stena Line (which has hosted the likes of Ed Sheeran no less). Speakers gave a taster of these exciting jobs, and demonstrated that as the sector plays an enormous role in facilitating 95% of UK global trade, it certainly presents a world of future possibilities for young people.
A key feature of the event was showcasing the range of skills used by the speakers in these jobs and beyond: leadership, speaking, problem solving to name a few. The purpose of this was to help motivate students to develop these keys skills and work to the best of their ability at school. After hearing from the volunteers, 61% of students said they understood how the subjects they study in school can be useful later in life. It was also assuring for students to learn there are jobs in maritime that cater to different strengths and areas of interest, which allowed them to reflect on the sorts of jobs they could be suited to.
The Q&A was a great opportunity for volunteers to satisfy the students’ curiosities, some of the questions being: How do ocean sustainability projects get their funding? Are there opportunities to travel internationally? What GCSE’s and other qualifications do you need? What does career progression look like in your line of work? Over 90% of students said they felt they learnt more about the sector and new jobs within it – a positive reminder of how essential volunteer encounters like these are for young people to explore their options.
From the feedback, we saw that students really enjoyed the variety of information and advice offered by the speakers which was largely helped by virtual enabling access to professionals both further afield and locally. It proves that volunteers still very much have a role to play in inspiring students at this time, and it’s now easier and more flexible than ever with virtual opportunities.
A sentiment that was echoed by the speakers to the students was to do something you enjoy, and we’re confident the students that attended the showcase feel empowered to do just that.