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Empowering Future Female Leaders with Cyprus Maritime Academy

28 / 06 / 2024

The maritime sector, historically dominated by men, is transforming as more women enter and excel in this industry. Female role models play a critical role in this transformation, providing inspiration, guidance, and proof that success and equality are attainable.

The recent strategic partnership with Cyprus Maritime Academy (CyMA) through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aims to address two global issues facing the maritime industry: a decrease in qualified seafarers and a lack of females on board and in leadership positions.

To kick start the collaboration, we have awarded a full scholarship, covering all four years of study, to Darina Sotirova, a talented young female Cadet enrolled in CyMA’s BSc in Nautical Science program. This support will ensure her professional development and highlight the importance of creating opportunities for women to lead and thrive in the maritime industry.

Representation is vital to help normalise the presence of women in maritime roles, from deck officers to engineers. It encourages young women to pursue similar careers, breaking down psychological barriers and societal stereotypes that suggest such professions are unsuitable for them. Experienced female maritime professionals provide mentorship, sharing valuable insights, advice and support to newcomers. This mentorship is crucial in helping young women navigate the challenges of a traditionally male-dominated field. Women in leadership positions also advocate for policies and practices that promote gender equality, creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for all employees.

Darina Sotirova with Emmanolia Kolias, Channel Director for Mintra and Board Member for WISTA Cyprus

It is important to build the foundations for young women like Darina and give them the tools to break the glass ceilings ahead of them. "

Emmanolia Kolias, Channel Director
Emanolia Kolias 500 500

The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with CyMA and the sponsorship of the female cadet, highlight our dedication to advancing maritime education and nurturing future female leaders in the field outside of the confines of our business. We have committed to an ongoing relationship that includes scholarships, creating and delivering maritime-related training courses, and collaboration in National and European Projects.

As the industry explores solutions to fill the growing shortage of qualified seafarers and create a more inclusive future, it has never been more important to think of ways to mentor and foster growth from the foundation up.

Emmanolia Kolias. “As an industry, we need to recognise that collaboration is key. Our partnership with CyMA shows our commitment to ongoing innovation within Maritime Education and Training, as well as our commitment to our future Seafarers, ensuring that we provide the stepping stones they need.”

Our decision to sponsor a young woman in the Cadet Scholarship Program aligns with our broader efforts to promote diversity and inclusion within the maritime sector. It is important to level the playing field and ensure that talented women can pursue their maritime dreams without financial constraints. We aim to help create a more balanced and representative workforce, which can lead to better decision-making and innovation within the industry and set a positive example for other companies in the maritime sector. All of this supports our goal of driving innovation and excellence in maritime and safety-critical education.

A scholarship in the maritime community signifies more than just a basic foundation to build a successful career, it embodies an investment in diversity and inclusion, empowering underrepresented voices to navigate new horizons, fostering innovation, and ensuring a richer, more inclusive maritime industry for all. "

Darina Sotirova / Cadet

This scholarship will enable me to secure a future where I can serve as a role model for other women aspiring to enter this industry but lacking the courage to do so, a feeling I am all too familiar with. "

Darina Sotirova / Cadet
Emmanolia with Kyriacos Patsalides, Director of Academic Affairs, Intercollege and the Cyprus Maritime Academy

As a leading provider of digital learning and human capital management solutions for safety-critical industries, Mintra works hard to exemplify our dedication to advancing gender equality. Within the business, this is achieved through initiatives run by our People and Culture team to support opportunity and diversity. Additionally, our business and many of the women in our teams around the world, are members of WISTA (Women's International Shipping & Trading Association). They work tirelessly, attending debates and networking to actively promote gender diversity and inclusion, ensuring that women in maritime are part of the narrative for industry advocacy and policy-making for the future.

For our clients, we host Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) courses on Trainingportal, and actively work with customers to promote the inclusion of ESG in training matrices.

Our commitment and sponsorship of Darina Sotirova is just the beginning of many such ESG initiatives for Mintra. Our goal is not only to contribute to the growth and diversification of the maritime workforce but to reinforce our commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable industry for all.

Kyriacos Patsalides, Director of Academic Affairs, Intercollege and the Cyprus Maritime Academy says, “We are honoured and grateful for the generous support of Mintra, which will significantly enhance the educational opportunities for Student-Cadets. We have chosen Darina Sotirova as the recipient of this year's scholarship. She is an exceptional young cadet with a bright future in front of her, we hope she will go on to achieve her dream of becoming a Captain, inspiring the next generation of female cadets.”