While March was certainly a turbulent month, there was still plenty to celebrate during International Women’s Month. And as the month ends, it’s important to highlight the many women who are making waves on the water, no matter what the hurdles.
For women making it in a sailing or maritime career, the avenues continue to open up and many women are forging paths in this industry. We spoke to women who are making great strides, which included their completion of the Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme.
Endeavour Community Sailing is a nonprofit committed to diversity, equality and inclusion across all of its programmes, which engage Bermuda’s youth in experiential learning through sailing. The International Transport Worker’s Federation estimates that only 2 per cent of the world’s maritime workforce is made up of women so we celebrate the fact there were three females among this year’s cohort to participate in the Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme.
The Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme is a 7-week training initiative offered by Endeavour Community Sailing in partnership with the Bermuda College Division of Professional and Career Education. Nine young Bermudians ages 16 and older comprised the 2020 cohort representing diverse backgrounds and career interests.
A key goal of the programme is to expose Bermuda’s young people to the maritime career opportunities available so they can make informed choices about their future. This is accomplished through partnerships with maritime organisations across the Island and organised career days that provide youth participants with hands-on experience to broaden their awareness and knowledge of different maritime career pathways.
During an interactive session with Chamaigne Dill, Manager of Administration at Bermuda Department of Marine & Ports the young Bermudian participants learned how they can be successful in their maritime job search. Ms Dill highlighted that less than 8 per cent of the Department of Marine & Ports workforce is represented by women, and encouraged all participants to be well prepared in order to standout amongst other applicants.
Mickia Brangman, 31
Mickia “Mickey” Brangman fell in love with sailing the minute she got the chance to skipper a boat for the first time.
“I couldn’t believe I could be so passionate about something I didn’t even know about,” she laughs.
She recently took part in the Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme where she achieved Royal Yachting Association [RYA] certifications. The programme also introduced her to power boating skills, health and safety, navigation and presentation skills, amongst other things. Going on site visits to maritime organisations like the Bermuda Department of Marine and Ports, Spar Yard Marine Solutions, Ocean Sails and BIOS were invaluable she says.
But it was a chance meeting with female boat pilot Tami Ray, that really solidified for Ms Brangman that she was on the right path.
“She’s the first female ferry pilot at Marine and Ports and I told her about my experience in the Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme, and she encouraged me to push forward,” says Ms Brangman. “Then I see she’s received the Woman of the Year award at the 2020 International Women’s Day celebrations, for me, that’s the type of inspiration I need.”
Ms Brangman spent 10 years living in Barcelona and returned to Bermuda to help run the Orbis Kids Zone during the America’s Cup in 2017. She now runs camps for kids and teaches Spanish, and she’d like to incorporate both sailing and Spanish into her camps.
“Endeavour is such a benefit for the island,” she says. “I don’t think there are enough women getting into the maritime industry, not because they don’t know about it, but I think because not enough women think they’re capable of doing it. But I felt really confident doing it, and I particularly feel like women grasp the technical side of it because of our wit.”
Rebekah Cabrall, 35
Even from a young age, Rebekah Cabrall has been fascinated by the water and always intended to pass that love on to her children.
While her early career took her into marketing, it was being reintroduced to the water through the Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme that her passion for entering the maritime industry was reignited. She says, “It’s baffling that so few people are aware of, or involved in activities and careers to do with the ocean/boating considering the fact that we live on an island.”
Now with the knowledge and experience she has gained from the Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme she’s hoping to encourage more young people, particularly women, to get into the industry.
“It’s easy to get hooked,” she says. “Once one experiences being on the water, and sees how many opportunities exist within the industry.”
She says the Endeavour programme boosted her own confidence in exposing her to so many available avenues to take steps to enter the maritime industry, and her goal now is to make sure that young people don’t miss out on this opportunity.
As a mother, she says there have been obstacles to going further in the industry, and she hopes to make sure young people don’t miss their window.
She says that her children are a priority but it has meant that she’s been unable to dedicate a “vast amount of time” to furthering qualifications overseas or going on overseas voyages, some of which are required to be hired within the industry.
“I would like to encourage and educate our youth early on, so that they have as many opportunities as possible available.”
It’s why she believes programmes offered by Endeavour and the Bermuda Sea Cadets are vital for the community, particularly in providing young women the opportunities available in the field.
“Giving our young ladies [and men] the confidence and knowledge to get out on the water by making these opportunities available regardless of socioeconomic status will greatly assist.”
Moriah Wheddon, 19
Even at a young age, Moriah Wheddon quickly confirmed that a career in the maritime industry was the right path for her.
Spending much of her early years out on boats with family and friends and spending summers at sailing camp helped her to realise that she was most at home on the water.
She is currently a Programme Instructor with Endeavour Community Sailing, where she passes on her own passion for sailing to young people through Endeavour’s school-based, experiential learning programmes. She is particularly keen to help support other females pursue their goals in the maritime industry.
“The obstacles of a career in the maritime industry, from what I have seen, is just the availability of information,” she says. “Most people don’t know what opportunities are available to them and what qualifications they need to acquire.”
Ms Wheddon found that her experience in the Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme in 2018, provided her with the start she needed to one day open her own successful business in the maritime industry.
“The Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme helped me get the qualifications I need to start a career in the marine industry. The programme has introduced me to many new connections and career paths that I wouldn’t have otherwise had.”
And she would encourage anyone with a passion for being on the water to pursue a career in the maritime industry.
If you are happy doing something then you should go for it,” she says. “What makes many women successful in the marine industry is their mindset. We truly believe that we can do anything a man can do and we work hard to show that to others.”
Renee Greenslade, Endeavour Programme Coordinator explains, “We’re inspired by the determination and resilience shown by the entire cohort, especially those who had limited to zero sailing experience prior to starting the programme. Many also had to overcome challenges in along the way in their personal lives as well, but they have emerged with greater confidence, improved skills and internationally-recognised qualifications to better equip them for a maritime career. They have achieved so much in such a short amount of time, which is nothing short of amazing.”Back to News Archives
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