The importance of crew welfare to V.

Group’s Director of Culture and Engagement, Katie Lea, has more than 20 years’ experience in the maritime industry. She has a wealth of knowledge and insight into how shipping can provide seafarers with rewarding careers and opportunities. Katie is passionate about fostering a supportive culture across the Group, ensuring that all seafarers have access to wellbeing support services whenever and wherever they may need it.

In such a fantastically diverse organisation as ours, with teams operating across the globe, we recognise that culture is of paramount importance. Our people may be working on opposite sides of the world, but we have commonality, with our company culture guiding how we act and make decisions. Our people are our most important asset, and we recognise that there are a number of ways we can support both our onshore and offshore teams to enable them to enjoy their roles and have fulfilling careers.

Range of initiatives

Our scale and commitment to crew welfare means we’re able to offer a range of initiatives to help our people feel fit and healthy – both mentally and physically. We have a menu of resources available through V.Care, from professional counselling, to online training, guidance on nutrition and exercise, and engaging social programs.

Employee Assistance Programme

As a business that never stops, we understand that crew may need support at any time of the day or night and with this in mind, we offer 24/7 access to free and confidential support from qualified counsellors, available in multiple languages, to our seafarers and their families.

Crew Welfare Points of Contact (POCs)

We want to make it as easy as possible for seafarers to ask questions or seek support, so in addition to the EAP we have also established a global network of Crew Welfare Points of Contact (POCs).  Our POCs are impartial colleagues from around the organisation who are trained to provide friendly and informal advice to our seafarers, answering general queries as well as helping to access support for more serious issues.  Seafarers are introduced to a dedicated POC, so they have a familiar face to contact by phone, Whatsapp, Messenger, or email, if they ever want to ask a question or talk through a problem which they don’t feel comfortable discussing with someone onboard.  POCs treat all communications with complete confidentiality and will stay connected with the seafarer until the matter has been resolved.

Wellbeing and family days

I’m proud of the programme of wellbeing and family days we have introduced for our seafarers and their families. We use these events to come together, understand and celebrate our diverse local cultures, get to know each other, and learn how we can better support our V. communities.

Our recent Mother’s Day and Women’s Day events in the Philippines brought together many seafarer families and featured expert speakers, entrepreneurial training, and cooking lessons by V.’s catering arm, Oceanic. The sessions also featured talks on financial management, with a focus on the importance of planning for retirement, as well as health screening for our female seafarers and families of our seafarers.

As a people business, ensuring the welfare of our crew is of paramount importance. We’re committed to listening to our seafarers and continually developing the range of support service available for them to access.