Maritime training ploughing scarce skills back into the Eastern Cape

03 April 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201914195

Education & Training
Harbour Infrastructure & Shipping
Maritime training ploughing scarce skills back into the Eastern Cape
From the left are Trainee Tug Masters Ntombizonke Khayisa, Olwethu Mzimeli, Makabongwe Sibandile, Anda Mzinyathi, Lulamile Mnyila, Bongi Nomqhuphu and Awonke Notshulwana

THE Port of Ngqura announced the intake of seven marine cadets recently. They represent a group of ten cadets, out of a national port pipeline of 31, who have just completed their required academic and sea borne training before being employed by the port for three years to complete their Tug Master training.

The other three of the ten cadets are being employed by the Port of Richards Bay as Trainee Tug Masters. Another 21 cadets are still in the process of completing their cadetship at academic institutions or at sea.

“Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) embarked on this initiative in 2012 to develop a pipeline of these scarce skills, vital to our operations. To date 90% of TNPA’s Tug Masters and Marine Pilots are products of this programme. Some have advanced to Deputy Harbour Masters, Harbour Masters and Marine Operations Managers – qualifications that are high in demand internationally,” said Siphokazi Maqetuka, HR Manager of the Port of Ngqura.

“Through this programme we are not only preparing youth for maritime careers to meet the needs of the ports, but we are also uplifting surrounding communities. We have various interventions in place to attract and develop these highly skilled young people. It begins at previously disadvantaged high school where we offer bursaries to deserving matriculants at adopted schools nationally.”

Maqetuka said the maritime career awareness programme included media exposure, career exhibitions, visits to schools, allowing learners to visit our ports and partnerships with various stakeholders in the education sphere.

The seven trainees, currently gaining workplace experience in the Port of Ngqura, were initially recruited from schools in the Eastern Cape. They have now come back to their home port after being away completing their academic studies and sea-time experience elsewhere. They comprise five men and two women and have been employed from November 2018 for three years.

“The Tug Master Trainees are trained to handle and manoeuvre tugboats within port limits and in rare cases they will do coastal voyages between ports. The training also includes the managing of crew and ensuring that tug maintenance is done effectively,” said Sibusiso Dlamini, Tug Master in the Port of Ngqura, assisting the Tug Master Trainees with tug handling skills as well as SAMSA requirements and regulations.

Maqetuka said said the initiative was more than just bricks and mortar or the latest technology. “None of our strategic plans can succeed without having the appropriate pipeline of maritime skills, knowledge and experience in place. At the heart of this programme is the need to continuously improve the operational efficiency of our ports, to remain globally competitive and in the process lower the cost of doing business, offering our customers quality service.”

Students interested in the Marine Cadet Programme are required to pass pure Maths, Physical Science and English in Grade 12. They can study Maritime Studies (Navigation) and Marine Engineering through the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the Durban University of Technology or the Nelson Mandela University.

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