Maritime UK, the umbrella body for the maritime sector, has welcomed the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) as the latest organisation to join the Diversity in Maritime Charter.
The RYA is the national governing body for all forms of boating including yacht cruising. The RYA exists to get more people into boating and watersport activities, promote safe boating practices and raise the standards of yachting and sailing in the UK. To increase boating participation and sailing safety, the organisation offers many training programmes and courses, which cover all the essential skills of yachting – from understanding and utilising nautical jargon to carrying out all the physical work to keep your boat sailing steadily and safely.
The Diversity in Maritime Charter is a pivotal initiative in the Diversity in Maritime programme. Signing the Diversity in Maritime Charter commits organisations from across the maritime sector to take a proactive responsibility for closing the diversity and inclusion gaps within their workforce. Thirteen organisations are now on the Charter journey including Bruntons Propellers, Shoreham Port, Fleetwood Nautical Campus, MFB Solicitors, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Hutchison Ports – Port of Felixstowe, IHS Markit, PNTL, Forth Ports and ABP’s Southampton and East Anglia regions, GAC UK, BAE Systems and the RYA.
To become a Charter organisation, businesses must share baseline data regarding the proportion of women in their workforce and across their middle and senior management and set target data for either five or ten years into the future. It also challenges the organisation to share where they are currently with their equality, diversity and inclusion journey and put targets in place for growth. The targets form a large part of individual company action plans, which also include a commitment to implement specific projects and initiatives. Through the life of the programme, Maritime UK regularly engages with Charter organisations to assess progress and identify areas for new programmes and activity whilst providing a platform to share best practice and challenges with others.
The announcement follows the launch of the RYA’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategyearlier this year, which reaffirmed the RYA’s commitment to ensuring that boating is as inclusive as possible. The RYA has made significant steps over the past few months and is keen to continue with the Strategy’s ambitious plans to develop a sporting culture that celebrates diversity and is free from discrimination and prejudice.
Charter organisations are supported by Maritime UK’s Diversity in Maritime programme and supported by a wealth of resources, toolkits, networks and initiatives including:
- Diversity in Maritime networks: Four networks, Women, Mental Health, Pride and Ethnicity, form part of the Diversity in Maritime programme. The networks bring together individuals from protected characteristics, and allies, from across the maritime sector in safe-space environments to share good practice and discuss barriers faced. The networks are supported by four working groups who create solutions to combat barriers.
- Online toolkit: a continuously updated online toolkit with best practice guides and policies
- Interview Pool: which loans maritime women to companies that may lack diversity on interview panels. Research by the Women in Maritime Network identified that more diverse interview panels or panels with HR professionals with diversity are more likely to recruit a diverse workforce. However, several smaller companies highlighted that they do not have access to such recruiters within their staff. The interview pool provides a facility for these companies to access relevant skills and expertise
- Speaker Bank: provides a database of diverse speakers for panels and conferences with specific industry expertise.
The first step to becoming a Charter Company is to sign the Women in Maritime Gender Pledge and Mental Health Pledge. The Pledges demonstrate commitment from maritime executives to making progress on diversity and inclusion.
Katie Loucaides, RYA Safeguarding and Equality Manager, said: “We are very proud and excited to be joining Maritime UK’s Diversity in Maritime Charter, it is a milestone moment in the RYA Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and we’re really looking forward to working with the programme to expand on our sport’s inclusivity. The RYA is committed to creating a welcoming sporting culture which recognises and values the differences between its participants, this is another great step in breaking down barriers to boating and working together to eliminate inequality in sport.”
Debbie Cavaldoro, Co-Chair, Diversity in Maritime Taskforce and Chief Executive, Ports Skills and Safety said: “I am delighted to celebrate RYA commencing their Charter journey. Diversity and inclusion is not a tick box exercise and is critical to business because it encourages success. The Charter empowers organisations to set targets and developing action plans to assist achieve a balanced workforce at all levels. We applaud RYA for the work on their 2021 strategy to ensure that boating is welcoming and inclusive and look forward to sharing their journey.”
Ben Murray, Chief Executive, Maritime UK said: “Maritime UK is delighted to welcome RYA to the Diversity in Maritime Charter. The Charter is an important step on RYA’s journey to creating a more inclusive working environment and their commitment will really help move the sector forward. We know that the Charter and the associated programmes provide an excellent toolkit that is well regarded by the sector, and we hope that more organisations will follow RYA and commit to the Charter.”