Skills diversity is good news for all

Port partnership enters new era

There is a quiet skills revolution happening in the maritime sector. Leading port operators such as ourselves need to attract, develop and retain an unprecedented breadth of talent. The traditional knowledge and capabilities traditionally associated with our business remain critical, of course, but our strategy has evolved so much in recent years that our skills profile must change too.

There are three main elements to this. The first is that our port infrastructure is changing, with information technology playing a vital role in improved efficiency, whether that’s in data sharing or crane control. The second is that we are no longer just a port operator. We’re in the logistics business, and that means being able to understand and add value to the whole supply chain, not just the transfer of goods to and from the quayside. The third is that our environment is increasingly competitive, with customers looking to us for more complex and integrated solutions that save them money, time and trouble.

All of this is great news for our business, providing exciting opportunities for our existing team, jobseekers and the wider community.

We invest heavily in training and development for our own staff, from apprenticeships through to MBAs. The wider range of talent that we seek, combined with our recruitment to meet growing demand for our services, ensures that there are openings for those looking for a career in the maritime and logistics sectors. And having a major employer with a diversified skills base is good for local economies.

Much of our business is located in the North-west, where the future of skills development is currently under the spotlight with the Northern Powerhouse’s skills week. We fully support any efforts that help to create and support the next generation of talent that we – and other employers – require to ensure the area’s continued prosperity.

The north has so many advantages and collectively we need to shout about these, including outstanding universities and colleges, forward-thinking employers in growth sectors, and a quality of life that is better and more affordable than many areas in the south. There’s a lot of commitment too from across the public, private and academic sectors, such as the Maritime Knowledge Hub that we are involved in, which brings together innovation, training and entrepreneurship in our sector.

Overall, it adds up to a very bright future if we can build on the strengths we already have.

Blog by Peel Ports Group CEO, Mark Whitworth.

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