Primary and secondary students from the Gosport and Fareham Multi-Academy Trust were keen to meet the Prime Minister, whilst taking part in London International Shipping Week today. We invited the students along and organised the trip to the Maritime UK Careers Hub, an all-day maritime careers event aiming to create interest and enthusiasm for maritime and maritime careers.
The students also met with Ben Wallace, Secretary of State for Defence, and Nus Ghani, Maritime Minster, who, as well as the Prime Minister, spent a great deal of time chatting with the students, and answering a wide range of questions from them. The whole event took place on-board NLV Pharos, a fully operational lighthouse vessel, which is taking up residence in the Thames during London International Shipping Week, and is moored alongside HMS Belfast.
Robert, aged 11 in Year 7 said that it was "Awesome! We played Lego with the most powerful man in Britain!"
Whilst Isabelle, aged 10 in Year 6 said of the Prime Minister: "He listened to our ideas and loved the idea of us engineering a bridge from Gosport to the Isle of Wight."
The Year Six pupils from Gomer Junior School, and the Year Seven pupils from Bay House School relished the chance to hear first-hand from those working across Britain's £40bn maritime sector. They also took part in interactive sessions including a virtual reality port experience, and a full tour of the ship, making it a day to remember.
Georgina Mulhall, Executive Head Teacher at Gomer Junior School, said;
"Today's event has provided a fantastic insight for our young people into the exciting and diverse careers the future UK maritime industry will provide, from seafarers, port workers and engineers, to naval architects, shipbrokers, financiers, accountants, consultants, insurers and lawyers. Experiences like these are critical in enthusing the next generation and are form part of the GFM curriculum. Those inspired to explore careers in the industry today will form the workforce that keeps the UK as a global maritime leader in the years ahead."
Anne-Marie Mountifield, our Chief Executive and Maritime UK Board Member, said;
"What a brilliant opportunity to promote maritime careers to students from the Solent, a region where maritime related skills are highly sought. The pupils thoroughly enjoyed engaging with the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Defence, and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport.
Engaging with the Maritime UK Careers Hub is particularly pertinent for young people in the Solent region, where the maritime economy produces a powerful £5.8bn, and performs such a critical role for the wider UK. The Solent has a wealth of future-facing opportunities and is home to phenomenal research and innovation that includes oceanography, defence, automation, renewable energy, leisure and sports. There are so many opportunities for young people in the maritime world."
The Solent LEP is currently recruiting business leaders and representatives of other key organisations to join its new Skills Advisory Panel. Find out how you can get involved in helping the LEP inspire the Solent's next generation workforce at www.solentlep.org.uk.