At V.Group, we are proud of the way our colleagues consistently demonstrate our shared values.
Last year we launched our Values Champions Awards, to recognise the members of our team who consistently go above and beyond to make a difference to their colleagues and our business.
We recently revealed our gold winners, chosen from more than 2,000 nominations received in 2019. Having reviewed all the gold winners, Mumbai based Cadet Planner Naresh Dikonda was named our overall CEO winner, chosen by Graham Westgarth. Given that the majority of our offices are working remotely, due to the ongoing coronavirus situation, we held a virtual celebration ceremony to mark the win.
Naresh was recognised for his outstanding contribution to the development of an eLearning training course for seafarers on post-traumatic stress disorder. Naresh drew on his own experience to develop the programme.
In January 2018, Naresh was working as an engineering officer when he faced a terrifying ordeal when the vessel he was on was hijacked by Nigerian pirates. At one point, he was confronted by three pirates in his cabin who made him get onto his knees and pressed a pistol against his forehead, demanding money. He was then escorted to the bridge to be met with the sight of all the other crew members lying face down.
Thankfully, all the crew were left physically unharmed by the ordeal, but it had a huge effect on their mental health. As a result of the horrifying incident, Naresh suffered PTSD. He has since had counselling sessions and worked closely with the V.Group team which has supported and helped him come to terms with his experience.
Naresh has shown true strength of character in wanting to share his experience and talk openly about how it has affected his mental health, with the aim of helping others who may be struggling.
Naresh has come to terms with the fact that he cannot undo his experience but with the help of his colleagues and his family, he is now able to look forward to a bright future and hopes to help others fulfil their career aspirations with the development of the training courses.
The mental health and wellbeing of our seafarers is a priority at V.Group and Naresh’s bravery in sharing his story and encouraging other seafarers to talk about their mental wellbeing is outstanding. The award win also serves as a timely reminder of the sacrifice seafarers make every day to ensure global commerce continues.