Unemployed youth in Cape Town are to be offered boatbuilding courses and other marine training programmes at a new government Marine Training Centre due to be launched next year.
The new training centre will be located inside the Port of Cape Town in a refurbished building opposite the new Cruise Line Terminal. It is being developed by South Africa’s Transnet National Ports Authority, which provides port infrastructure and marine services to the country’s eight commercial seaports.
Transnet outlined the plan in a statement issued late last month. It said the investment formed part of government’s Operation Phakisa national development plan, which includes the Ocean Economy as a key focus area. Cape Town Port Manager, Sipho Nzuza, said: “As an agency of the state we have a responsibility to develop technical skills, train artisans and develop engineers to ensure the sustainability of our ports and to stimulate growth. The City of Cape Town has a high unemployment rate among the youth, particularly those from previously disadvantaged communities, and without a proper skills development programme, these young people cannot participate meaningfully in the economic development of country.”
A Transnet official said the training would complement Transnet’s existing training facility in Durban, and would incorporate both the leisure and commercial boatbuilding sectors. Other marine courses on offer would include dock master training, ship maintenance, and international Lighthouse and Navigational Systems programmes. Said Nzuza: “We are at the coalface of global competitiveness working in the port environment. Higher skills increase the economic and social competitiveness of a country, while reducing unemployment, poverty and inequality. Offering blue collar skills to previously disadvantaged youth can enable them to become employable and start participating meaningfully in the mainstream economy.”
The training centre is one of several new developments earmarked for the port of Cape Town, which is gearing up for a R615-million major facelift over the next five years. Other projects include a new fire protection system and an ambitious mixed-use development adjacent to the port on currently under-utilised Transnet land.