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gender balance
Gender equality
Women in Maritime
How to be a Non-Executive Director
April 11, 2019


WISTA UK members were urged to improve their leadership and management skills in a bid to improve on the 10% of females at board level in the country’s industry.

Nearly 50 members heard presentations on non executive directorships (NEDs) at a meeting sponsored by Gard UK.

Fiona Harthorn of Women on Boards called for more transparency in recruitment of women at the highest level but also challenged females to build more career resilience and to gain confidence, even if they had taken a career break.


Giving some practical advice, Paul Butterworth of head hunter Odgers said the covering letter was all important and he urged WISTA UK members to use their networks effectively.

Mairéad Ní Cheóinín, from Seafarers UK, who serves as a NED, regaled the audience with her experiences which she said were positive. She urged WISTA Uk members to be persistent as the first attempt may not be successful.

Interview: Commissioner Vella opens sails for sustainability
August 2, 2018

From the increasing threat of marine litter to the cruise industry – Europe boasts a booming year-round cruise destination, it is no wonder the European Union is seeking to boost its international ocean governance.

In an exclusive interview with European Interest, European Commissioner Karmenu Vella outlines his objectives. Sustainability is the buzz word.

In charge of Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Vella notes that the EU is leading efforts to reduce single-use plastics (more than 80% of marine litter is plastics). He is also busy addressing the bottlenecks to the sustainable future of the cruise industry before the end of his mandate.

Read more

Unconscious Bias

A UK Meeting Unconscious Bias

“I thoroughly enjoyed the WISTA UK seminar on Unconscious Bias, presented by Brook Graham and hosted by Reed Smith. The topic was both interesting and thought-provoking and certainly received a lot of audience engagement and a few laughs as well. WISTA UK events provide a unique lens on the international shipping industry and I have always found them very useful in terms of content and networking.!

Read more about the event here in Helen’s Opinion Pieced in Lloyd’s List


Helen Kelly Article Lloyd's List June 2018

Young women wanting to join the cruise business!
June 12, 2018

Alot of young women choose a career because they have had at least some sort of rub or interest with the business. Visits to Hospitals, holidays using Airlines, following their parents careers brings us nurses, stewardesses, vets etc… Unfortunately the cruising business is not immediately recognised as a childs ideal holiday and unless the parents pick a cruise line that actively welcomes children and has specific activities for them, they are generally considered a nuisance onboard. So how does a young woman learn that there is an onboard career available for her?

The total worldwide ocean cruise capacity at the end of this year will be 537,000 passengers and 314 ships. Annualized total passengers carried worldwide will be 26 million, an increase of 3.3% over 2017. So are there jobs a plenty and how do you get access to them?

It is not an easy task. There are many specialised cruise job agencies and each year more cruise lines are using them. They explain what Jobs are available and what you are expected to do in the position. They ask you to send a c.v. and then you have to wait to see if you get past the, what is known as the “computer stage”. On asking one of the large agencies to explain how they sort through the thousands of c.v´s they receive I was told that computers scan the c.v´s and they are looking for Key words. If you are applying as a receptionist if at least that word does not show 3 times in your c.v then the c.v. is rejected.

Many agencies are specialized in one or two areas of the ship, for instance, the deck and engine crew and maritime officers positions are on the webpages of maritime academies and agencies.

Everything that is classified as passenger comfort is under the Hotel Department. These positions are usually on the webpages of the cruise job agencies.

On most modern ships the Spa, Shops, Hairdressers, Entertainment, Photograph departments are autonomous in that the ship usually has a contract with a well known Company and this Company places staff onboard so future employees have to go directly to the HR department of that Company.

Out- scourcing on ships is becoming very popular as it takes away many headaches for the cruise line when extra staff is needed and if an employee does not adapt to cruise life, the ship can ask for a replacement.

On a cruise ship there are 4 senior managerial positions to aim for if you want to make a career in this business. 3 of them are Captains. How can there be 3 Captains? Yes, the Chief Engineer holds a Captain´s license so does the Staff Captain and of course the main Captain who is called the “Master” to differentiate him from the first 2. The 4th senior person is the Hotel Director. The 3 Captains are classified as the technical team and the Hotel Director heads up the passenger welfare team.

Our future female Captains will be starting out as cadets and going through marine academies either paying their own way or applying for the many sponserships. There are a number of sponsoring shipping companies, training management companies and charitable organisations who recruit UK and EU nationals as navigation, marine engineer and marine electro-technical officer cadets. Most companies have further information about their officer cadetships on their websites.

Our future Hotel Directors as of yet have no academies to train in. Usually a Director makes his/her way up through the ranks and working in all departments so that the seniority is gained by on-hand experience over the years.

Should you be interested in the Cruise business and would like to ask a question then do not hesitate to contact me on cruise@wista-uk.co.uk

Call for speakers
August 1, 2017

Call for Speakers WISTA UK, LISW 2017

WISTA UK is hosting their LISW 2017 (London International Shipping Week 2017) conference again at one of London’s prestigious venues City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2AA.

11 September 2017 from 14.00 to 17.45.
Followed by networking evening at the iconic London Living Room, 9th Floor at City Hall, in association with Associated British Ports.

The conference will be in the Mayor of London’s Chamber, which is a purpose built auditorium with fixed seating for 250 delegates.

Both events are free to attend.

In 2015 the conference was oversubscribed and the audience was predominantly female, middle to senior management and international with delegates from over 10 countries.

The conference theme is:  Autonomous, Robotics and loT what is the reality now and in the near future?

14.00 – 15.00       Where are we today and what needs to happen to have a really fully integrated supply chain including Ships, Ports, Supply Chain Collaboration Platform, Land logistics

15.00- 16.00        What does this need to make it really happen. Current platforms, open source platforms, block chains – getting out of silo mentality

16.00 – 16.30      What regulatory changes and new legislations are needed? Legal, IMO and security.

16.30 – 17.45      What does this means for careers, readdressing the gender imbalance

We are looking for speakers who will take on these subjects and provide thought provoking ideas that lead to good debating sessions. Each speaker will have 5 minutes to address the topic (we don’t want corporate presentations this time is to be used to address the subject) and each session will have a moderator who will ask challenging questions alongside ones from the audience.

Press will be in attendance.

Please send bios and a brief outline of your proposed presentation for consideration by the WISTA UK conference panel to events@wista-uk.net by 9 August 2017.

WISTA UK Free Seminar – China’s Belt and Road initiative
July 13, 2017

Today WISTA UK held a free seminar at Thomas Miller in London. Catherine Smith, Senior Associate, Holman Fenwick and Willan (HFW), a WISTA sister visiting from Hong Kong examined China’s trillion dollar Belt and Road initiative. This aims to ease trade between China and its 60 neighbours along the Silk Road. We would like to thank Catherine for a wonderful presentation, Thomas Miller for hosting us and all who attended and contributed.



Joint Networking with the Propeller Club
April 12, 2017

WISTA UK were delighted to co-host an informal networking event with the Propeller Club yesterday at the Old Tea House in Aldgate yesterday.






Attendees traveled in from a stone throw’s away to as far as Portsmouth to attend and the variety of backgrounds and careers made it an interesting and valuable networking opportunity.

We will another relaxed networking event with the Propeller Club on the 9th May. For further details, please click here.

Test post to see if it works
April 12, 2017

Test post to see if it works

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