Friday, February 28, 2014

As International Women's Day Approaches is Logistics the Most Underrated Career Choice?

Push to Promote the Freight Industry While the Converted Study Pirates and Other Relevant Issues
Shipping News Feature

UK – With International Women's Day coming up (March 8) and next week being National Careers Week (March 3 – 7), the UK organisation, Women in Logistics UK (WiL) is calling for women and girls to seriously consider logistics as a career. The three and a half thousand strong organisation is pressing for a higher profile and, as part of this drive, WiL Vice Chair, Clare Bottle, will be spending the week visiting schools, highlighting the benefits of a career in logistics to students, with girls a particular target. A 2012 study showed an old fashioned preoccupation with traditional gender roles with seven year olds aspiring to careers in science, education, sports etc. with, for example, 9% of girls (and only 0.1% of boys) considering hairdressing as their future.

The simple fact however is that hair and beauty roles equate to a total of just 250,000 UK jobs, the industry is simply too small to satisfy the aspirations of 9% of schoolgirls. Yet the colossal 2.3 million jobs in logistics are largely being overlooked as a viable option for Britain’s young women. WiL UK is addressing the issue directly with a stark new campaign next week, ‘Hairdressing? There are ten times as many jobs in Logistics'. In a parliamentary debate last June MP’s acknowledged that careers advice in schools is too often obtained solely from parents and teachers. Consequently, children tend to aim for a limited range of careers which are readily visible to them.

Clare Bottle is admirably suited to get the message across to the UK’s youth having over twenty years’ experience in the industry with businesses including Transport for London, M&S and Lafarge Tarmac. She is also a former Director of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport UK and a Trustee of the transport and logistics charity Transaid. She commented on the latest campaign saying:

"We all depend on logistics every day, but when it comes to recruiting young people, the industry's fatal flaw is that you only notice it when it goes wrong."

In other gender relevant news WISTA-UK, the international organisation of women working in the shipping industry representing naval architects, ship engineers, brokers, lawyers and other maritime related professions, recently invited NYA International, a crisis prevention and response consultancy, to speak on the ever present threat of modern piracy. In a presentation held last week at London’s Tower Bridge House, Aleck Burrell, NYA International’s Maritime Operations Manager affirmed his opinion to the widely held view that piracy is with us for the foreseeable future.

The talk, chaired by Martin Brown, Senior Parliamentary Advisor (Africa) at audit and accounts firm Mazars, in whose offices the meeting was held, focused mostly on the differing threats of armed attacks on both the East and West African coasts, and concluded that the long term solution depended on economic and political support, not military intervention or armed security teams.

NYA produces solutions to ship owners such as MarTrack, which provides real-time vessel tracking and alerts offering a view of live vessel tracking, piracy and other essential information on a secure online portal. Both Martin Brown and Aleck Burrell were in agreement about the causes of piracy in the region citing favourable maritime geography, unstable political climates and safe havens ashore as prime reasons for its continuance, whilst political intervention, aid and support were vital in combating future piracy.

The event was the latest in a series conducted by WISTA to highlight some of the most important issues in shipping affecting not only women in the industry, but the industry as a whole.

Photo: Women in Logistics UK’s Clare Bottle.