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IWD 2021: Becky Zaffarese

Becky Zaffarese

Becky Zaffarese – security supervisor

Since being promoted to security supervisor, Becky has seen her role at the port change to adapt to the impacts of the pandemic and highlight the essential work her team has done to keep goods moving.

How has the pandemic affected your job role?

The pandemic has had a significant impact on my job role. On a normal operational day during peak season the security teams can screen an average of 150 vehicles per day and up to 100 foot passengers. As you can imagine, these figures have dropped rapidly over the last year.

Whilst the number of visitors, contractors and staff at the port has dramatically decreased, the security of the port still needs to be maintained to the high standards set and required by the DfT. With this in mind, we also now have the added measure of enforcing social distancing on site. We introduced a new one way system in the main terminal, and a new way of entering the restricted area to assist with the flow of people.

Everyone arriving at the port has to pass through the new non-intrusive body temperature scanner before going to their place of work, PPE has become the “new normal” and a whole new training instruction was created to make it safe for the teams to conduct body searching and minimalise face to face contact. We have also had to take in to account Brexit changes, just to add to the challenges!

The pandemic changed the ports whole security infrastructure but working together as a port family we have continued to excel in what we do best, making Portsmouth International Port a safe and friendly place to travel and visit.

Who is your inspiration?

Thanks to social media, working for the port and being a keen traveller (although not recently…) I stumbled across a woman on Instagram known as Captain Kate McCue. She is a Captain for Celebrity Cruises and has been at sea for 25 years, 19 years of which was full of hard work to make it to where she is today. I am inspired by her positive attitude and the way she always strives for success. Her work, dedication and self-motivation speaks for itself.

I am also a big supporter of Women in Maritime, where I represent the port as I feel there are not enough women applying for operational roles.

Have you marked International Women’s Day before? 

No. Until a few years ago I hadn’t even really taken in to account how important to me international women’s day should be. Now however, after looking into how this day has come about, I believe it should be widely celebrated. This day is a chance for women of all backgrounds and cultures to come together and celebrate the movement towards gender parity and women’s rights. We see more and more companies are now paying their male and female staff equally, and rightly so. Without international women’s day changes like these would not be happening.

It’s important for women to be recognised, after all, we have come a long way over the years with the freedom to work in roles elsewhere besides the “office”.

I am lucky, working for my local government I am very well supported and am given opportunities that years ago, women may not have had the option to do. I have worked at the port for 13 years and have seen a hugely significant change with women now taking on more operational roles.

I have also recently gained a promotion to security supervisor and was up against a tough group of candidates. This would not have been at all possible without the opportunities that were offered to me to develop my skills and experience. Although don’t get me wrong, I have worked and studied hard to achieve what I have to this date.


Read about more inspirational Portsmouth women on the city councils website.