A SAILOR and an academic have spoken about their careers to raise awareness of the opportunities available in the maritime industry.
The pair have told their stories during Seafarers Awareness Week, which runs this week.
It aims to highlight the economic contribution of the sector, which at £47bn is bigger than aerospace, pharmaceutical and road freight combined (£29.5bn).
Currently based in Portsmouth, Katie Stone joined the Royal Navy four years ago as a Rating after finishing her GCSEs at school.
She completed her training at HMS Raleigh, and then spent 14 weeks learning her hospitality (steward) role.
She joined HMS St Albans, where she has been front of house at VIP events working with defence engagement on deployments all over the world.
She said: ‘Joining the Navy was a big decision, but I really wanted to do something different away from home and the opportunity to travel was really important.’
She said that in a relatively short space of time she has made lifelong friends, and every day has been interesting and different.
Gordon Meadow is an associate professor at Solent University, home of the maritime training institution Warsash Academy.
He is completing a PhD examining the impact of autonomous vessels on seafarer competency.
He said: ‘Autonomous ships won’t mean no seafarers. People are still needed, just differently, in different ways and more importantly, with very different skills.’
UK Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani said maritime was important to the country.
She said: ‘Our highly skilled maritime workers, both at sea and onshore, play a crucial role in making the UK a world leader in maritime business.
‘Commodore Barry Bryant, director general at Seafarers UK, the charity behind the campaign, said: ‘The global ocean economy is expected to double in size to $3 trillion over the next 12 years, and for an island nation with a long maritime history, that means exciting opportunities for young people across the UK.’