Navigating a maritime future for SA cadets
SAIMI has appointed experienced maritime training professional Yvette de Klerk as manager of the National Cadet Programme (NCP).
“The appointment of a dedicated manager will enable SAIMI to strengthen the cadet programme, raise awareness of the programme amongst learners and stakeholders, and, ultimately grow its reach and size to support growth of the South African sea-faring skills base,” SAIMI CEO Prof Malek Pourzanjani said.
The National Cadet Programme is managed by SAIMI to provide pre-sea training and sea-time experience with international shipping lines in order to enable South African maritime students to obtain the international STCW certification to embark on careers as deck or engineering officers.
“We are really pleased to have Yvette’s experience and skills, together with her passion for the sea and for training, on board to help us grow and strengthen the National Cadet Programme, which continues to make a significant difference to equipping young people for careers at sea,” Prof Pourzanjani said.
“I am passionate about seeing lives transformed through quality training, human capital development, and the acquisition of a broader range of skills that prepare graduates for gainful employment in the maritime industry and beyond,” says De Klerk.
“Training with the intent to purely increase the number of graduates will not suffice in creating a source of seafarers that can compete internationally, and meet the ever-increasing and stringent safety and owner/charterer requirements – especially in a market flooded with newly graduated junior officers and ratings.
“It is therefore of paramount importance that specialist skill-sets are continually developed in order to set new graduates apart from the ‘minimum requirements,’ and that we actively create and market employment opportunities, both locally and internationally.
“This same principle also applies to existing seafarers in the industry - merchant navy, fishing and cruise liners - to ensure continuous development, career prospects and subsequent progression through the ranks,” says De Klerk.
She had her first taste of sea life while presenting seminars on health and wellness “while travelling the world” on cruise liners.
“I finally realized that nautical science and the maritime industry is where my true passion lies and enrolled at the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania,” she says.
Her next experience of the ocean was as a sea cadet, after which she obtained her ND: Maritime Studies from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology while working as the Training Manager at Marine Crew Services SA.
She was then appointed general manager of MCS, and obtained international experience during a six-month secondment to MCS Singapore-based affiliate RKOffshore. In Singapore she gained extensive experience in crew management, from a ship owner's perspective, she says.
After returning to South Africa in 2015, De Klerk grew the MCS pool of seafarers in Africa before being appointed operations manager for the MCS/MBC group of companies.
Through MCS she has been involved in the National Cadet Programme since its inception by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), as well as training programmes for Transnet National Ports Authority and the Transport Education Training Authority.