EC youth sail to their dreams
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.