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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  02 Nov 2011

MARINE: Maritime Sector Tackles Skills Problem


Recent Western Cape Business News

THE South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) last month launched its Maritime Skills Devaelopment Study. This critical initiative by SAMSA done in partnership with the Human Resource Development Council South Africa (HRDCSA) and supported by the Department of Transport (DoT), will be key in the process of skills development and empowerment.

The ongoing issue of unemployment and skills shortage in South Africa has prompted the urgent attention of both public and private sector entities. This study is therefore SAMSA’s undertaking to help with highlighting the skills gap within the broader maritime sector and to provide further insights on pivotal interventions needed by the industry.

The study was conducted with the help from audit firm Deloitte who provided the technical expertise to investigate the economic influence of the maritime sector, where extensive research was conducted in investigating skills shortages within the maritime sector; and a framework to harness the job creation potential within this industry was provided.

The study calls upon training institutions, the government and the private sector to work together in ensuring that South Africans are armed with skills to be able to participate in the maritime sector thereby ensuring the bridging of the existing skills gap.

The study provides for measures that will be put in place to promote growth and development in the five sub-sectors in the maritime industry: Ports and Ships of the industry i.e. Shipping, Marine Resources, Marine Tourism and Leisure, Marine Manufacturing and Construction, Commercial Support and Business Services and Public Interests.

Furthermore, measures will need to be set in place for the protection of current jobs. Over and above this a catalyst will be provided to promote growth and development in the sub-sectors in the maritime industry:

Currently the Ports and Shipping sub-sectors are the biggest employers in the sector but this is to the exclusion of the other sectors that have been identified by the study - the Marine Resources sector of which fisheries bring a GDP of approximately USD 323 million (2008) and maritime tourism and leisure, which is broken down into boating and cruising; sports and recreation; as well as leisure.

Part of the Operational Support Services includes manufacturing / construction, business services and the public interest cluster. Manufacturing / Construction has an important boat building industry with a strong export component compromising 85% of production.

The annual boat building turnover is in the region of R1.2 billion and the industry employees approximately 4 500 people.

The plans in place will have measurable results by 2013, according to SAMSA.

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