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UK Government hands big boost to next generation of maritime workers

The Department for Transport has announced this week new plans to inspire thousands of children across the UK into taking up a career in the maritime industry. 

The bold plans include lessons being rolled out across the country to raise awareness of the maritime sector and the importance of shipping.

The programme provides government funding which will allow schools to teach skills such as learning to build and use a compass along with the positives the maritime industry brings to the UK economy. 

The funding follows the announcement of the Department for Transport’s Maritime 2050 strategy, which sets out a vision for the industry’s future. 

Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani announced the funding plans on the 9th July at St Peter’s London Docks Primary School. The funding will include £40,000 for expanding the ‘Why Shipping Matters’ programme and will allow the lessons – developed by the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers – to be used in both primary and secondary schools across the UK.

Ghani, who has been the Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport since January 2018, said of the programme:

“Shipping is crucial to the vitality of the UK – bringing in the food and goods we buy as well as energy to power our homes.

“I am always excited to see children’s enthusiasm for ships and maritime, and I hope this programme will inspire them to consider a future career in the industry.

“Pupils will learn how to make a compass and be taught how they allow vessels to navigate around the world as well as understanding the values of commodities that are shipped across the globe.”

Julie Lithgow, Director at the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, who are responsible for developing the curriculum being rolled out, explained how important the funding could be for prospective maritime workers of the future. 

“With this new project, we’ll be developing an interest in our sector, and an understanding of its fundamental role in our world in the youngest of our society.

“The Institute has, for more than 100 years, inspired new generations to develop their knowledge of the commercial maritime world, albeit young people at the start of their professional careers.

“The enthusiastic curiosity and creativity of the primary school children who have been part of the project so far have inspired us to roll it out to the South Coast, Merseyside and the North East of England.”

The plans came before today’s publication (11th July) of the government’s clean maritime plan, a detailed plan for the environmental route map of the Maritime 2050 – setting out the vision for the future of the British maritime sector and including the pathway to zero-emissions shipping.