On 27 March, ESPO invited Human Resource managers from European ports to discuss the working environment in the ports. The meeting was organised in the framework of the European Commission’s “Women in Transport – EU Platform for Change” initiative.
A representative from DG MOVE presented the newly established platform, of which ESPO is a founding member. Rather than only concentrating on the gender issue, ESPO decided to approach the issue from a wider perspective, discussing diversity in ports in the broader sense.
Karin Heremans, school principle of the Koninklijk theneum Antwerpen, set the scene by presenting her active work on the strategical development of school curricula which prepare her students for the job profiles in demand in the Port of Antwerp. The negative image and wrong stereotype of the port as a workplace was identified as one of the major challenges to her successful work.
Following the presentations, the HR managers exchanged experiences on encountered challenges and current practices. The discussion revealed that ports are facing a major common challenge to attract people to work in a port and to show that the port can be a great working environment for a wide range of profiles. ESPO will continue the reflection together with the ports on how to enhance this image of ports as a good working environment for everyone.
In addition, ESPO has taken up the theme for its 10th edition of the annual ESPO Award on Societal Integration of Ports: “Ports as a good work environment for everyone”. The Award will go to the port authority that creates a good workplace environment for its employees and which has an innovative approach to promote the wider port area as an attractive work environment for everyone: difference should be an asset, never an obstacle.