PSS is the standards setting body for the port sector, working to ensure a highly skilled workforce.

PSS’s vision is to drive the ports sector to become one of the safest places to work, with opportunities for individual growth and collective success.

PSS aims to drive positive change in skills across the entire port sector and be the natural home for coordinating skills projects, in the same way the organisation is for health and safety projects. To achieve this, it believes it must adopt the same holistic approach and not look at skills in isolation. This means collaborating with other partners in the sector to understand career needs, map current and future skills requirements and, where necessary, develop training programmes.

This first year of the PSS Skills Strategy 2023-2028 saw the launch of three working groups and numerous skills projects. Work progressed throughout 2023 across apprenticeships, qualifications, competencies, and careers. With the exception of the Skills Intelligence Modelling project, all the projects have a completion date beyond 2023.

New relationships have been formed with those working in roles that influence skills and careers within the membership, educational institutions, technology providers, and other associations.

Key performance indicators for skills are outlined below.

Manage Skills Intelligence Modelling project

The first phase of this project began at the end of 2022, as the Ports Workforce Research, commissioned by the Maritime Skills Commission in partnership with PSS. The sector’s returns have been too low in the first year to use the data as a benchmark, but as a pilot study, the data provides some insights into the workforce demographics of the sector.

Skills Intelligence Modelling

Review the port-specific apprenticeship standards

PSS is reviewing four port-specific apprenticeship standards in conjunction with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) and in collaboration with members and stakeholders. The aim is to update the apprenticeships and make them accessible to a wider range of organisations.

Apprenticeship Standards

Research and deliver a suite of information detailing port-side jobs, career opportunities, training requirements, qualification routes and competencies

Talent attraction and retention strategies are being forced to change and the port sector is no exception. Early work and discussions confirmed that PSS is on the right path in its work but also highlighted the considerable amount to be done in this area.

Careers pathways

Port Skills Group and working groups

The Port Skills Group (PSkG) meets four times each year (two in-person and two online meetings) to bring together those working in skills-related roles such as learning and development, human resources and training in member organisations.

These meetings allow for valuable networking in addition to providing presentations on relevant topics.

PSS facilitates working groups to drive forward current projects in collaboration with members and to review qualifications, apprenticeships and National Occupational Standards with members and stakeholders.

Port Skills Group

Skills Strategy

This five-year plan demonstrates how PSS can truly take the lead on skills in the ports sector, focussing on all the elements that support a strong, future-proof, highly skilled workforce. This includes understanding ports and long-term career needs for both new entrants and those currently employed in them, promoting the sector by developing skills that allow port workers to maximise their employment opportunities and helping train the workforce to stay safe.

PSS Skills Strategy 2023 – 2028

The skills strategy will be updated in 2024 to reflect any learnings under the following four pillars.

Entry routes into ports: The cross-sector work and wider ports promotion.

Progression routes: Qualifications and training to help the workforce progress.

Current and future skills requirements: Data collection and analysis on the current workforce to identify skills gaps, shortages and training requirements.

Skills standards: National Occupational Standards and the PSS competency framework.