July 28, 2023

South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) hosted a successful Maritime Winter School Awareness Programme

South Africa has been at the center of a surge in interest in respect of sea-going careers. The South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) in line with its mandate and role as advocate and coordinator of skills development in the maritime sector has initiated a new pilot programme. This is an ongoing exploration at testing the waters in ensuring that the South African system is strengthened and therefore ready to be able to respond to these opportunities that are coming into the Country.

SAIMI as the host and coordinator of the National Seafarer Development Programme and as part of the Institute’s instruments, conceptualized and piloted a National Maritime Winter School Awareness Programme. The Programme, specifically targeted at Maritime High School learners from schools across the Country, was hosted at the Nelson Mandela University, Ocean Science Campus and ran from the 3rd to the 7th of July 2023.

In line with SAIMI’s strategic objectives, the aim of the Programme was to grow awareness among South African youth about maritime career opportunities. In addition to increasing awareness, the Programme was also aimed at improving the grades and performance of these learners. SAIMI’s main goal was to better equip and capacitate the learners in preparation for the tertiary education and training environment. This initiative further seeks to reduce the dropout rate at tertiary level as the learners are now more likely to determine at high school level if the sea is their destination. This therefore addresses the throughput rate at Colleges and Universities.

SAIMI appointed qualified teachers and mentors to facilitate the lessons and support the learners. The Programme consisted of a series of lessons with guest lectures covering various maritime themes. The learners were also exposed to various site visits for example the Nelson Mandela University’s (NMU) Marine Robotics Centre and other laboratories, workshops and harbour tours, for practical experiences to inform the theoretical knowledge. This was very important for the inland schools and those that are far from ports. The key subjects covered during the Programme were Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Maritime Economics, Nautical Sciences and Marine Sciences.

On the last day of the Programme, SAIMI awarded the learners with certificates of completion as well as the teachers and mentors were awarded with certificates of recognition for their respective roles. This was followed with a sailing activity at Gqeberha Yacht Club.

Maritime Studies exposes Grade 12 learners to a greater variety of career choices not just at a National level but also Internationally. Furthermore, it helps with building knowledge and awareness of the oceans and coastal environments to promote sustainable use and conservation among communities.

SAIMI will therefore be working in partnership with various stakeholders to ensure the success and sustainability of the Programme going forward. Stakeholders such as Government Departments, SETA’s, industry players as well as Institutions of Higher Learning will be approached to support the roll out of the National Programme. SAIMI is grateful for the support received from the Eastern Cape Department of Education, other Provincial Departments of Education, and the National Department of Education to have successfully hosted the inaugural National Maritime Winter School Awareness Programme.

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