SAIMI, through its strategic Goal 2 commits to creating “A competitive, future ready and increasingly employed SA maritime workforce by 2024”, with a view to having an increased number of South Africans, in particular those from previously disadvantaged groups, women, the disabled and the youth through the pursuit of a career in the maritime sector. The purpose is to ensure a transformational agenda that addresses the triple challenges of equity, poverty and unemployment. SAIMI’s strategic focus, therefore, is on supporting initiatives and programmes that empower these individuals and to increase the quality and throughput of South Africa’s maritime education, skills development and training system.
SAIMI is committed to developing and implementing strategic interventions to enhance greater access by South African youth, the disabled and women to employment - including entrepreneurial opportunities and ensuring their readiness for sustainable careers in the maritime sector.
EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN IN THE MARITIME SECTOR
The empowerment of women is critical within the maritime sector through capacity building and creating awareness for all actors responsible for achieving gender equality.
Capacity building for women is linked across sectors, and progress in one area cannot be sustained without progress in others, and this remains applicable also in the maritime industry. The World Bank Development Report (WDR) 2019, using household and labour force survey data from the World Bank’s International Income Distribution Data Set, continues to show that men outnumber women across all broadly defined occupations. The participation of women in both shore-based and sea-going activities remain key in growing the industry and promoting equity.
A number of organisations are committed to helping their countries achieve the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 5 - “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. Several types of actions can be identified under the functional category of capacity building; which are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. SAIMI will develop further actions and initiatives.
Capacity-building, specifically for women, will include those that target women and girls. Emphasis in this regard is on the need to empower women and girls through building their capacity to pursue the strategic objectives identified in the maritime industry and through increasing their life choices, their decision-making abilities, and their access to resources and services. This includes the provision of information on research opportunities and industry events, through various communication mediums (i.e structured monthly letters, interactive websites and other social media platforms) education and training (through accredited short learning programmes, events and workshops), and equal access to infrastructure resources that are key for advancement within the maritime industry (i.e diving equipment and lessons, small boats for skipper licence requirements and advanced swimming and lifesaving operations).
The capacity of specialist institutions at the governmental and non-governmental levels (such as national machineries for the advancement of women, women's non-governmental organizations, gender advancement research institutions and programmes) and of mainstream institutions (such as committees, gender networks and task teams) are also very important for capacity building. Institutional programmes will look at the management dimension of capacity-building, including institutional change and knowledge management as it has been started by SAIMI, but will spillover and be tailored to the various key focus areas within the oceans economy.
Other interventions for the empowerment and capacitating women include:
• Awareness about entrepreneurial opportunities in the maritime sector.
• Supporting the establishment of women-owned businesses and cooperatives within the maritime sector, through the provision of enterprise development and skills development initiatives (for technical and soft skills), information, as well as facilitating access to capital.
• Supporting the participation of women in various forums aimed at advancing the empowerment and needs of women. These could include research and engagement platforms and networking initiatives to share experiences and offer guidance.
The above have been delivered by SAIMI through strategic partnerships with women focused organisations such as Women's International Shipping & Trading Association – South Africa (WISTA-SA) and Women in Maritime Africa - South Africa (WIMA-SA).
SAIMI drives a number of initiatives targeted at youth empowerment to enable access to the maritime sector, however, these are mostly on the training side. On the education side, some bursaries have been offered. However, the SAIMI will expand interventions on the education side to capacitate the students and contribute to the completion of their qualifications, more specifically post-graduates, with a view to contributing to the maritime research agenda. This is expected to add value to SAIMI’s research agenda as well, in line with its Strategic Goal 3 - A leading maritime research, development, innovation and knowledge management system by 2024.
Furthermore SAIMI has developed an awareness programme to enable the youth to learn and participate in the maritime sector. The initiative is under the banner of DIVE IN a Maritime Awareness Programme that ensures knowledge sharing, fun and interactive platforms that showcase the careers in the maritime sector.
It is hoped that through these efforts SAIMI will ensure a process of inclusivity and progressive development for the youth in the various provinces.
PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
It should be noted and highly emphasised that the maritime sector has evolved to enable all persons to partake in the various facets of the sector. With the different technological advancements, those with ‘disabilities’ have the advantage to explore various recreational and occupational opportunities in the maritime sector. SAIMI is committed to ensuring that it maximises all possible solutions to ensure every person is able to tap into advantageous opportunities within the maritime sector.
Transformation is of paramount importance to SAIMI and it ensures that whilst we focus on creating the relevant skills for the maritime sector, previously disadvantaged groups (including the disabled, women and youth) are not left behind irrespective of gender, race or disability. This mission also aligns with the Nelson Mandela University
strategic priority and goals that stipulates the fundamental attributes that resemble its namesake, the late icon, Nelson Mandela to drive transformation. The strategic priority highlights that the institution and its partners should be in alignment to:
Foster an affirming, transformative institutional culture that promotes diversity and social cohesion.
SAIMI remains committed to expanding it’s transformational agenda to ensure all South Africans benefit from the maritime sector.
SAIMI is Motivated to Make a Difference as in the words of the late Icon
"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead." Nelson Mandela