The Seafarers’ Charity joins the Diversity in Maritime Charter program

Maritime UK, the umbrella body for the maritime sector, has welcomed The Seafarers’ Charity as the latest organization to join the Diversity in Maritime Charter.

The Seafarers’ Charity’s vision is to create a world where seafarers and their families are valued and free from need and disadvantage. They have been working towards this goal since 1917, when they were first launched as King George’s Fund for Sailors. Today, The Seafarers’ Charity is an evolving and forward-looking charity, building on its past successes but expanding its capabilities to make a real difference. Their donation of grants to maritime charities is having a life-changing impact for many who work – or have worked – at sea, and their families. They seek to reduce the difficulties faced by seafarers by creating environments where they can thrive. Finally, meeting their practical and well-being needs at home, in port and at sea, often far from home.

The Maritime Diversity Charter is a pivotal initiative of the Maritime Diversity program. Signing the Maritime Diversity Charter commits organizations across the maritime sector to take proactive responsibility to close the diversity and inclusion gaps within their workforce. Fourteen organizations are now on the Charter path, including Bruntons Propellers, Shoreham Port, Fleetwood Nautical Campus, MFB Solicitors, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Hutchison Ports – Port of Felixstowe, S&P Global (formerly IHS Markit), PNTL, Forth Ports and ABP’s Southampton and East Regions of Anglia, GAC UK, BAE Systems and now The Seafarers’ Charity.

To become a chartered organization, companies must share benchmark data regarding the proportion of women in their workforce and in their middle and senior management. They then set target data for five or ten years into the future. It also challenges the organization to share where it is now with its equality, diversity and inclusion journey and set growth targets. Goals form a large part of companies’ individual action plans, which also include a commitment to implement specific projects and initiatives. Throughout the life of the programme, Maritime UK regularly engages with Charter organizations to assess progress and identify areas for new programs and activities whilst providing a platform to share best practice and challenges with others.

This announcement follows the review of The Seafarers’ Charity Equity, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EEDI) Action Plan for 2020-25. The action plan reaffirms The Seafarers’ Charity’s commitment to raising awareness of EEDI across the sector. Use their position in the maritime welfare sector to identify needs and opportunities to support all groups, including marginalized communities, to benefit from the diversity of the sector. By also looking at the governance diversity of maritime charities, boards can become more diverse, which will move an organization forward. Since 2019, The Seafarers’ Charity has offered grants of £5,000 to help grantees fund external governance and diversity reviews.

Chartered organizations are backed by Maritime UK’s Diversity in Maritime program and supported by a wealth of resources, toolkits, networks and initiatives including:

  • Diversity in the Maritimes Networks: Four networks, Women, Mental Health, Pride and Ethnicity, are part of the Diversity in the Maritimes program. The networks bring together individuals from protected features and allies from across the maritime sector in safe space environments to share best practices and discuss barriers encountered. The networks are supported by four working groups that create solutions to tackle barriers.
  • Online Toolkits: Our continuously updated Maritime Mental Health and Diversity online toolkits share best practice guides and policies.
  • Interview Pool: which lends women seafarers to companies that may lack diversity in interview panels. Research by women in
  • Maritime Network has identified that more diverse interview panels or panels comprised of diverse HR professionals are more likely to recruit a diverse workforce. However, several small businesses pointed out that they did not have access to such recruiters among their staff. The interview pool gives these companies access to relevant skills and expertise.
  • Speaker Bank: Provides a database of various speakers for panels and conferences with specific industry expertise.
  • Book Club: Ethnicity in Maritime Book Club involves a series of informal and intimate online/hybrid get-togethers that give its members the opportunity to read, listen to and discuss books that expand knowledge and understanding of the race and the impact of racism.
  • Holistic approach to mental health and well-being: an initiative that will define a holistic approach to enable the maritime sector to tackle the whole spectrum of mental health and well-being.
  • LGBT+ Industry Roundtables: Roundtables began during Pride Month to bring together network members as well as senior executives from maritime companies and organizations to share ideas on how to ensure the maritime is LGBT+ friendly.
  • The first step to becoming a chartered society is to sign the Maritime Women’s Mental Health and Gender Pledge. The pledges demonstrate maritime leaders’ commitment to making progress on diversity and inclusion.

Chrissie Clarke, Head of Staff Programs and Operations, Maritime UK, said:

“Maritime UK is delighted to welcome The Seafarers Charity to the Diversity in Maritime Charter. The Charter is an important step in The Seafarers Charity’s journey to create a more inclusive sector, whether at sea or ashore, and their progress will really help move the sector forward.

Jo Doheny

Jo Doheny, Head of Impact and one of the founding members of the Diversity Group led by staff at The Seafarers’ Charity, said:

“We are very pleased to have become a Maritime Diversity Charter organization and look forward to continuing our journey towards Equity, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EEDI) with Maritime UK and others. charter organizations. Our staff-led Diversity Task Force was formed in 2020 in response to the death of George Floyd. The group aims to bring our ideas, lived experiences and thoughts together to become more understanding and inclusive – working together to better integrate EEDI into all aspects of our culture, policies and processes. We have truly benefited from regular meetings and training on issues such as equality, diversity and inclusion, mental health awareness and unconscious bias and look forward to continuing our EEDI journey.

Team members are open about the difficult nature of some of the issues they discuss in the group.

Freddy Onono

Freddy Onono, financial analyst and also one of the original members of The Seafarers’ Charity Diversity Group, said:

“It has been a journey and for everyone it is a continuous learning process. Something I understand much better now is mental health. I’m from Kenya in Africa and anyone with poor mental health is really ostracized and culturally a mental illness is linked to a lack of intelligence or just hidden. I shared my new perspective on acknowledging and listening to people with mental health issues, not only with my work colleagues, but also with my Kenyan friends and family, because it changed my way of thinking.

Diversity in Maritime is sponsored by the Port of Aberdeen and Stena Line UK.
Source: UK Shipping

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