Careers Hub

The British ports sector plays an essential role in the UK economy. 95% of the UK’s international trade, both imports and exports, pass through the ports and they are essential hubs for the energy and tourism sectors. A major part of that success story is our people; the dedicated individuals who keep our industry running through thick and thin.

The UK ports industry directly employs approximately 115,000 people, and creates additional jobs in logistics, energy, and tourism. However, more than that, the ports sector provides real opportunities for coastal communities and offers excellent career prospects for enthusiastic and talented people from all walks of life.

And not all ports careers require maritime experience. Positions in engineering, finance, and health and safety are just as much in demand as marine pilots, deckhands, and divers. So long as you have the drive to succeed, the ports sector wants you!

Join 115,000 talented people in one of the most dynamic industries in the UK

Who Are We?

The British Ports Association is the national membership body for ports in the UK, representing 86% of all UK port traffic. We work hard to promote this thriving industry, both to the public and to government and see our role as essential in advocating not just for the major ports operators but also the key workers that keep our economy afloat. We aim to work towards an equitable, diverse, and transparent ports industry, and provide the secretariat for the Association of Participating Bodies of the Pilots’ National Pension Fund.

How to Enter the Ports Industry

Key skills are always in demand, and the industry provides excellent opportunities for development in a practical setting. No matter what your talent, there is a job for you. These are just a few of the positions available in this vibrant and exciting industry.


As with many industries, ports derive much of their income from day-to-day banking, invoicing customers, and other financial works. As such, there are several opportunities for accountants and finance officers in the ports industry. This can range from an Accounts Assistant, who provides clerical and smaller budgetary duties, to the Chief Finance Officer who is responsible for developing control systems designed to preserve assets.


Ports would cease to function without the hard work and experience of engineers. Electrical, mechanical, and apprentices are all essential to the running of ports, and often to excellent career progression within both their discipline and the port operator themselves.


Due to our coastal nature, the ports sector views themselves as custodians of some of the most spectacular and diverse areas of the British coastline. As such, the industry takes this role seriously and positions are open for environmental and sustainability officers. From investigating potential breaches in conduct to coordinating pollution policy, environmental positions form a large part of the social compact between operators and their communities.


Our people are the secret to the port industry’s success and keeping them safe from harm is a top priority. Health and Safety Managers conduct audits, inspections, and guidance for all 115,000 people in the sector and work frequently with our colleagues at Port Skills and Safety to ensure standards are maintained.


Communications is of ever-increasing importance to the ports industry, as we aim to be more than just economic hubs but also drivers of investment in the local community. Public relations and communications managers play a key role in this mission, providing online comms, press releases, and internal publications. There is also the business aspect to consider, and marketing assistants are pivotal in the creation and distribution of market research and company branding.

Just a selection of some of the careers waiting for you in the ports industry


Much of the ports sector relies on the accrued knowledge of thousands of industry veterans who understand their work inside and out. However, that knowledge is best passed on not through the classroom but by practical, real-world experience that only apprenticeships can offer. There are hundreds of port-based apprenticeship opportunities throughout the UK, providing internationally recognised qualifications and paid positions for everyone from school leavers to career changers.


The ports industry is committed to the principles of equality and diversity, believing that only through embracing different people from different backgrounds can new and successful ideas be allowed to propagate. The sector provides a wide range of jobs, allowing people to work to their strengths while exploring new career paths and possibilities. In recent years, BPA has worked with Maritime UK on their Maritime Careers Hub and Ethnicity in Maritime Initiative to encourage people, regardless of age of demographic, to consider working in a maritime setting. As an island nation, it makes sense.

The following ports industry jobs have been sent to us by our members.

Please download the attached files or click the links to view.

If you are a member and would like us to add a vacancy please contact us.

To find out more about Maritime Careers please click here.


Job title       Chief Executive

Salary           circa £130,000


Click here for Recruitment Pack
Click here for Role Description


The Solent, located at the centre of the south coast of the UK and just seventy miles southwest of London, is the UK’s global gateway. As a coastal region, we have always looked globally, welcoming the world to the UK, and helping outstandingly crafted British made products reach global markets.

The nations gateway is now becoming even more prominent as one of only eight regions in England selected by the Government to be a Freeport.

Freeports are an important part of the UK’s post-Covid economic recovery, and the Solent Freeport will unlock billions of pounds’ worth of investment, create tens of thousands of new jobs and level up our important coastal communities.

Areas designated by the government, Freeports will benefit from incentives to encourage economic activity and operate with both ‘tax’ and ‘customs’ sites. Tax sites offer occupiers business rates relief and other incentives to support capital investment, skills and employment. Business rates growth generated at the tax sites can be retained locally and reinvested in the area. Customs sites will help enable the tariff-free movement of goods for both export and import through simplified customs procedures.

We believe the Solent Freeport is a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to maximize our geographic advantage in a highly competitive global market and forge new trading relationships with the world.

The Solent proposition, through links to three world-class universities and as host to national research assets, will catalyse an innovation revolution in maritime, autonomy and green growth.

The Solent Freeport Consortium has reached a significant milestone in submitting the Outline Business Case to Government for approval. It is now bringing forward an exciting opportunity to lead the Solent Freeport Board at this critical development stage and looking to recruit to the high- profile position of Chief Executive of the Solent Freeport.

The Role

The Chief Executive of the Solent Freeport is an incredibly exciting and important role, not just within the region, but nationally.

As our Chief Executive you will build on the rapid and significant progress we have made on the Solent Freeport proposition and our strategic direction, and collaborating with partners from across the public and private sector you will provide visible leadership to deliver the aspirations of our region and secure the economic benefits the Freeport will bring for years to come.

The Chief Executive will work in partnership with the Solent Freeport Consortium Limited Board to provide leadership, vision and strategic direction to the Solent Freeport Consortium Limited. The post holder will act as an ambassador for the Solent Freeport and wider Solent area to ensure it is fully engaged with its stakeholders and communities and fulfilling its role.

As Chief Executive you will build and maintain a strong and committed Executive Team to equip the Solent Freeport with expert skills and agile business acumen to relentlessly pursue brilliance. Alongside the Freeport Chair and the Board, the Chief Executive will develop the strategic direction of the Solent Freeport, utilising the expertise and knowledge of board members, Freeport company members and key local and national partners such as local government, government departments, business and academia.

At the core of the role, the Chief Executive will be responsible for ensuring the Freeport delivers on its commitment to be a national hub for global trade and investment; promote regeneration and job creation; and establish a hotbed for innovation.

The Candidate

As our new Chief Executive Officer you will play a critical role in delivering the Solent Freeports ambitious agenda, working at pace to deliver economic growth and development which is of national importance.

The Solent Freeport will occupy a unique role within the UK’s infrastructure and economic growth and therefore requires an exceptional Chief Executive who will deliver our strategic direction and identify opportunities for investment, using their technical and commercial expertise.

Consulting with government departments, landowners, major employers, investors and wider public and commercial organisations this role will call upon significant partnership working and commercial aptitude.

It is likely that the successful candidate will be able to point to a successful track record on delivering a Place making programme of a significant scale. Candidates may come from a range of backgrounds including, regeneration, infrastructure, and have worked in either the private or public sectors, where they will have gained significant experience working on capital programmes and the delivery of major development opportunities.

We are looking to appoint an inspirational leader with a passion for place making and an outstanding track record of success in delivering complex major regeneration and place-making schemes, coupled with the ability to work effectively and credibly across the public and private sector interface.

This is a high-profile role, working in a complex landscape and requires a skilled communicator, who can operate across a wide and complex set of stakeholders and draw others into the vision for the Solent Freeport.

For an informal and confidential discussion, please speak with our advisors at Berwick Partners.

Marek Dobrowolski
Partner, Lead Place, Regeneration and Partnerships
D: 0121 654 5975
M: 07793529576

Ruth Hernandez Turner
D: +44 121 654 5936