Around 180 schoolchildren learnt about different careers during a trip to Portsmouth International Port including a pilot, Border Force official and Naval officer.
After hearing about the roles in the maritime industry, children from Victory Primary, King’s Academy Northern Parade, The Petersfield School, St Peter’s School Waterlooville, and Flying Bull Academy, were taken on a tour of the city’s famous marine and maritime organisations.
These included Portsmouth International Port, Portico, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Hovertravel and Portsmouth Naval Base.
The visit was part of Maritime UK Week which aims to engage people with the world of maritime.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council said: “As the UK’s only island nation it’s really important our young people understand how important jobs in the maritime industries are.
“I hope that hearing first hand what it means to work at sea, help bring in cargo for supermarket shelves, protect our borders and provide security and defence, gives them an idea about what they might do in the future.
“All these roles are crucial and I support Maritime UK’s call for a vocational qualification in maritime to make sure we can support future generations in their careers and also play an important part in keeping the UK safe, secure and thriving.”
“I hope that hearing first hand what it means to work at sea, help bring in cargo for supermarket shelves, protect our borders and provide security and defence, gives them an idea about what they might do in the future.”
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council
Maritime UK, the umbrella body for the maritime sector, is backing proposals to introduce new GCSE-equivalent qualifications to ensure implementation of maritime in the school curriculum, to provide new opportunities for young people and end the postcode lottery between England and Scotland, which does offer vocational qualifications in the sector.
Industry and schools say that maritime qualifications will help reverse educational inequality in coastal communities. They have cited government figures which show that disadvantaged pupils who live in coastal areas achieve about three grades lower at GCSE than those living in non-coastal locations.
Sarah Kenny OBE, chair of Maritime UK, said: “Recent government-industry collaboration has moved the dial on maritime skills, but there is scope to go further and faster, providing a new world of opportunities for young people in coastal communities.
“Tomorrow these school kids can be ensuring our country’s energy security, strengthening our naval defences, be piloting AI ships, and building our new Teslas of the seas.
“As an island nation, maritime is a major part of our past, present and our future. So it’s about time our kids were given more opportunities to learn about maritime in our classrooms.”