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Julie-Anne talks about her role as first MCA Head of Maritime

Category: Blogger's Corner

Image of Julie-Anne talks about her role as first MCA Head of Maritime

Recorded in 1970 this archive video looks at the decision to recruit women into the Coastguard service: http://www.eafa.org.uk/catalogue/222647

Fast forward to 2017 and Julie-Anne Wood is the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)’s first female Head of Maritime Operations. That's the highest position in the operational structure and the first time in nearly 200 years of Coastguard history that a woman has held this rank.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, MyDfT interviews Julie-Anne to learn more about her career.

What drew you to Coastguard work?

I previously ran my own business providing safety training to fishermen and merchant seamen in Wales. I also qualified as an instructor and examiner for those undertaking a certificate in Global Maritime Distress and Safety Systems and we used to visit the local Coastguard station as part of the course.

During these visits I got to see the work of the Coastguard and when I saw an advert in our local paper for a part-time position I applied. Once I joined I saw the opportunities that were possible and aspired to be a Coastguard trainer.

How did you become Head of Maritime Operations?

I started my career in 1999 as a part-time coastguard watch assistant in Milford Haven.  I was on a 12-month fixed term contract – but about 6 months into my post an opportunity arose to take on a full-time permanent role. I never looked back.

Over the next 9 years I progressed through the ranks to Watch Officer, Watch Manager and Rescue Coordination Centre Manager. In 2008 I moved to Swansea Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre as the Rescue Coordination Centre Manager.

Then in 2011 I changed direction, fulfilling my long-term goal by becoming a Coastguard Technical Trainer. I continued to work hard and more opportunities presented themselves. I was promoted to Technical Training Manager and ultimately Head of Learning and Development.

In 2013 I became the Head of Technical Training and Standards as part of the Future Coastguard modernisation, and in 2014 covered temporarily as Head of Maritime Operations. In 2017 the role was advertised and I secured the permanent post at the end of January this year.

What does the Head of Maritime Operations do?

I lead teams who deliver a range of maritime services for the UK. I also liaise with partners and stakeholders internationally.

I am responsible for the National Maritime Operations Centre and 9 Coastguard Operations Centres and National Maritime Operations Centre that co-ordinate Search and Rescue operations around the UK coast.

What’s a typical day like?

No two days are ever the same!

We are the only national emergency service, and I can be required to provide advice and briefings to our Directors and Chief Executive during incidents which are then often cascaded to Ministers at the Department for Transport.

Other days I may be meeting with our many stakeholders, such as the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Or I might be on operational delivery or working with colleagues to plan for future challenges.

What has been your proudest achievement?

There are many occasions in my career where I have been proud – having been involved in numerous search and rescue incidents where we have saved lives or provided closure for families.

I am also privileged to work with many talented people who continue to deliver this service on a daily basis.

What advice would you give others who have yet to make their ambition a reality?

Always try. Seize opportunities that change projects and programmes can offer.

Are you interested in a career with Maritime and Coastguard Agency? Please click here.

VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please call 02037405973 or email [email protected] for more information.

We are also officially recommended by Disability Confident as a step on achieving Employer status, please click here for more information.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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