At the Brighton & Hove Living Wage Campaign, we sat down with Diversity and Inclusion Champions: Shoreham Port. Kate Tyrer, Head of Communications talks us through Shoreham Port’s success, and gives advice to other businesses exploring the ways they can become a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
Tell us about Shoreham Port and your role?
We are a Trust Port that has been operating at the centre of the local community for 260 years here in Sussex! The Port is over 2 miles long, and we cover the areas of Shoreham, Southwick, Portslade to Hove. I’m sure many of your readers may have driven past or cycled through the Port, spotted the iconic power station chimney from afar, or seen the wind turbines on Southwick beach, but many don’t know what goes on behind-the-scenes!
On water, we serve a mix of commercial cargoes mostly used in the construction industry, as well as fishing and leisure. On land we operate retail, hospitality, discharging, storage, and forward logistics services. Our estate spans 110 acres and we are home to 175 small business tenants and entrepreneurs. We are committed to achieve net zero (scopes 1 and 2) by 2035 and are proud to have been a certified EcoPort for 10 years running.
I’m the Head of Communications, overseeing all internal and external communication strategies for Shoreham Port. From crafting engaging content and managing our website and social media presence to supporting our community events, I lead our dynamic communications team to ensure our messaging reaches our wide array of audiences effectively. Let’s just say, I’m kept rather busy!
What are the Maritime UK awards, and how did Shoreham Port become Diversity and Inclusion Champions?
The annual Maritime UK Awards celebrates excellence and achievements within UK’s £116bn maritime sector. Bringing together the shipping, ports, services, engineering and leisure marine industries, they recognise the very best of the UK’s maritime sector and cover various categories such as innovation, sustainability, diversity, and individual contributions to the industry.
It is an honour to be amongst the 14 organisations to achieve a Maritime UK award this year and to be recognised for our true commitment to diversity and inclusion for our 200 colleagues.
We were delighted to be named Diversity and Inclusion Champion after impressing industry judges with our ongoing commitment to building an inclusive culture for our colleagues, as well as contributing to wider industry efforts through our role as a founding member of the Diversity in Maritime taskforce. The category celebrates organisations that demonstrate a true commitment to diversity and inclusion, creating a diverse workforce through collaborating with other businesses, charities, and organisations to share best practices.
At Shoreham Port we continually take steps to build an inclusive environment; from gender balance at leadership levels as well as LGBTQ+ and BAME representation, to everyday acts of inclusion. For example, diverse interview panels, neurodivergent-friendly recruitment processes, free period products, flexible working, our healthcare cash plan, and mental health training for colleagues, as well as becoming the first Port to sign the Pregnancy Loss Pledge.
Do you have advice for other businesses in the sector who are striving to commit to a more diverse and inclusive workplace?
Diversity & Inclusion is a huge and multi-faceted topic which can seem very daunting. For any business starting their Diversity & Inclusion journey, my advice would try not to become overwhelmed – take small but meaningful steps by working out what changes you can simply implement that can have a big impact. Keep it manageable – rather than trying to do it all at once, take it one step at a time.
To foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace, it’s crucial to go beyond data and engage with your employees to truly understand their experiences. At the Port, we have taken proactive steps by conducting an annual colleague survey, ensuring anonymity for honest feedback. This valuable insight helps us track progress, identify strengths, and areas for improvement. Colleagues are asked questions on topics such as their view on the Port’s strategic direction, their relationship with their managers and teammates, any presence of bullying and harassment, if they identify as LGBTQ+ and if there are changes we could make to help support this in the workplace. Emphasizing open and anonymous communication allows us to build a stronger, more inclusive workplace together. Collecting these responses annually enables us to track our progress and the impact of any actions that have been taken throughout the year.
Can you tell us something about working at Shoreham Port that people might not know?
Something you may not know is the diversity of roles we have at Shoreham Port and within the wider maritime industry. As a Trust Port, our commitment to the local community includes providing high-quality employment opportunities. In 2021, the Port successfully took part in the Government Kickstart Scheme which aimed at creating roles for 16–24-year-olds receiving Universal Credit. The scheme’s success is evident, as three of our Kickstarters are still part of our team today!
And finally, what’s next for Shoreham Port?
Building on the success of our Kickstart colleagues, we’re gearing up to launch our Apprenticeship program later this year. These will offer fantastic learning opportunities, enabling our apprentices to pursue formal qualifications while receiving invaluable on-the-job training with our teams. We place great importance on working with local providers, so we are pleased to be working with Greater Brighton Metropolitan College as part of this scheme.
One of the courses I was most excited to hear about is the Engineering Maintenance Apprenticeship. Collaborating with the new Decarbonisation Academy at Brighton MET, our Apprentice will be trained on green construction practices, such as installing heat pump systems, solar panels, and retrofitting.
By continuing to foster inclusivity and investing in the future through apprenticeships, Shoreham Port remains at the forefront of driving positive change in the maritime sector.
Learn more about Shoreham Port and their work here.