Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle, supported by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), on Friday  14 July 2017 launched the Eastern Cape Provincial Maritime Youth Development Program.

In his fourth State of the Province Address (SoPA) earlier this year, Premier Masualle outlined the provincial economic outlook on the backdrop of the subdued national economic and increasingly constrained fiscal outlook.

In responding to the high unemployment rate which is currently outpacing economic growth, with women and youth the most impacted, the Eastern Cape Government developed the Provincial Economic Development Strategy based on six key economic sectors on which the province has a comparative advantage namely agricultural development, oceans economy, tourism, renewable energy, light manufacturing as well as the automotive industry as potential catalysts for the Eastern Cape’s economic turnaround and transformation.

To this end the Office of the Premier (OTP) has partnered with SAMSA to implement the Maritime Youth Development Programme which seeks to expose young persons to opportunities in the Oceans Economy and has targeted 150 unemployed youth with grade 12 and with no skills for training in life and work skills, training youth in swimming and basic competence for training as seamen and seawomen.

Out of the 130 youth from Port St. John’s, Ingquza Hill, Nyandeni, Mbizana and Buffalo City 50 successful candidates were issued with Seaman Books/SCTW Certificates and provided with opportunities for employment in the maritime industry starting with placement on international cruise liners.

“Our plans, our dreams, and our wishes hinge on our economy performing optimally. It is for this reason that we are prioritising the transformation of the economy to create jobs and sustainable livelihoods,” says Masualle.

Sobantu Tilayi, Chief Operating Officer of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) welcomed the support from the Office of the Premier for the MYDP programme which he said was important for growing the maritime sector in skills development and training.

“South Africa has a youth unemployment rate that is reaching critical levels. Although there are various institutions and initiatives that exist in both the private and public sector, there is a high level of unemployment among youth in the country, particularly in informal settlements or peri-urban areas.

“The objective of the MYDP is therefore to attract youth to the maritime sector while making an immediate positive impact on their lives and their communities in a substantive way. This programme is about making real change to youth and their communities,” Tilayi added.

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