EC youth sail to their dreams

Vuk'uzenzele - - Front Page - Siya Miti

NiNety-seveN young­sters took to the sea with MSC Cruises to gain work ex­pe­ri­ence and in­crease their maritime skills.

Nearly 100 young­sters, many from im­pov­er­ished ar­eas in the East­ern Cape, will be trained in cruise liner hos­pi­tal­ity, for nine-months, as part of Op­er­a­tion Phak­isa Oceans Economy.

The an­nounce­ment was made hot on the heels of Cab­i­net re­cently ap­prov­ing the Coastal and Marine Tourism Im­ple­men­ta­tion Plan, which forms part of Op­er­a­tion Phak­isa Oceans Economy and aims to grow the economy and boost tourism.

The oceans have the po­ten­tial to con­trib­ute up to R177 bil­lion to the gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) and cre­ate just over one mil­lion jobs by 2033.

A send-off event was held at Port St Johns on East­ern Cape’s Wild Coast for the 97 young­sters who have joined MSC Cruises’ ves­sels.

Youth devel­op­ment pro­gramme

The East­ern Cape Maritime Youth Devel­op­ment Pro­gramme (MYDP), re­cently launched by Premier Phu­mulo Ma­su­alle, is a gov­ern­ment, pri­vate sec­tor and non-govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion ini­tia­tive, to equip the youth with skills and cre­ate jobs in the maritime sec­tor.

Joint part­ners in the ini­tia­tive are the South African Maritime Safety Au­thor­ity (SAMSA), the East­ern Cape Provin­cial Gov­ern­ment and Haram­bee.

The young­sters were also part of a group of 128 youth who re­cently com­pleted spe­cialised train­ing in ba­sic marine skills. This is the first group un­der the MYDP pro­gramme in the East­ern Cape, but the sec­ond one na­tion­ally, since launch of the ini­tia­tive a year ago.

The SAMSA says marine tourism ranks among the top four sub­sec­tors of the coun­try’s maritime sec­tor, which is pro­jected to have phe­nom­e­nal growth in the next two decades.

Ac­cord­ing to the au­thor­ity, it con­trib­uted R19 bil­lion to the coun­try’s GDP in 2013, with pro­jec­tions in­di­cat­ing yields as high as R44 bil­lion in 2020, ris­ing rapidly to R134 bil­lion in 2033, gen­er­at­ing be­tween 800 000 and one mil­lion jobs.

More than half the young­sters are from Port St Johns, an area that has been targeted this year for a se­ries of maritime sec­tor-re­lated projects in maritime aware­ness,

The East­ern Cape Maritime Youth Devel­op­ment Pro­gramme gives the youth skills and cre­ates jobs in the maritime sec­tor.

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