Nikki Sayer took voluntary redundancy to travel Australia and New Zealand alone, however this hasn’t stopped her from being successful in the shipping industry on her return.
Where do you call home?
Sunny Saltburn by the sea.
Tell us about your role?
I am director of Casper Shipping.
How did you get to where you are today?
I started my career on a YTS at British Steel and before long, I ended up in the shipping department. This turned out to be the best move ever, as the shipping sector has given me an amazing career. After working in several different roles within shipping, I took voluntary redundancy in 2001 and went travelling for 12 months around New Zealand and Australia by myself.
After returning to the UK, I moved to Dubai, where I continued with my career in shipping and also gained my professional qualifications with the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS). On returning to the UK, I moved out of shipping while I had my family and then moved to Australia in 2012 for three years. On coming back to the UK, I got a job teaching logistics before moving to Casper Shipping in 2016 as a manager and within five years, I was made director.
I was the first female chair of the ICS NE branch in 2017 and commissioner on the maritime skills commission in 2019. I am now the education secretary of the ICS NE branch.
What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way?
As a woman working in both the steel and shipping industries, both traditionally very male dominated sectors, there have been challenges throughout my career. Being a single woman working in a strict Muslim country also had its difficulties, but it’s all made me stronger and the person I am today.
Describe the moment you first got a feel for success?
The minute I got a job in shipping, I knew I had found my calling and I’ve gone from strength to strength ever since, as it is such an amazing sector to work in. I also realised I had a duty to raise the profile of this fabulous industry to the young people leaving school who know nothing about maritime. I have since founded the North East School of Shipping, based at Stockton Riverside College, as a centre of excellence for students to study the ICS qualifications.
Do you have any advice for aspiring young females?
Anything is possible, you just need to go out and get it! It’s all there for the taking. Be yourself and put yourself forward for every opportunity you can.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Do exactly what you have done.
What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path?
You can do this (four but who cares 😊)
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