Nikki Sayer is on a mission to encourage more young people to join the maritime industry.
Nikki is director at Casper Shipping, part of the Casper Group, a maritime services business operating at ports across the UK and EU.
She joined the company six years ago and in 2020 became director, also heading up its customs division. Based on the Tees, Nikki and her team are responsible for issuing customs declarations for goods being imported or exported to the EU and across the world.
The maritime sector makes a significant contribution to the UK economy and Nikki is acutely aware of the need to encourage young people to take up the opportunities it presents and carve out a career for themselves.
“I spend a lot of time going out to schools and colleges to talk to young people about the shoreside roles in the sector,” says Nikki, a Commissioner on the Maritime Skills Commission.
“The sector faces a massive challenge in that it has an ageing workforce and we need younger people with the right skills to come through.”
Nikki was the first female chair of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) (North East branch) and the ICS has partnered with Stockton Riverside College and Tees Valley Logistics Academy to develop the North East School of Shipping.
Nikki is championing a range of ICS professional qualifications provided by the North East School of Shipping, delivered by Stockton Riverside College.
Also trying to raise the profile of the diversity agenda, Nikki is keen to show female school leavers that a career in shipping is just as accessible to them as it is to their male counterparts.
Casper Shipping is also playing its part in delivering skills for the future. The company successfully negotiated the Brexit transition by automating its customs processes, turning traditional customs operator roles into data analyst roles.
“These are the future skills and green skills we will need especially when you consider the carbon neutral targets in all industries including shipping,” says Nikki.
The automation programme at Casper Shipping has eradicated errors and significantly improved customs declaration turnaround times and volume, benefitting the company’s chemicals, freight and dry cargo customers.
Nikki won the Breaking the Mould Award at this year’s Tees Businesswomen Awards for her commitment to education, shipping and customs. “The industry has given me a fabulous career,” she says.