Big plans for coastal small-town youth

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The Eastern Cape Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison MEC Weziwe Tikana will today Sunday 16 July hand over R200 000 worth diving and training material to young people undergoing training for maritime related skills in Port St Johns.

The 35 trainees between the ages of 18 and 35, were selected from coastal local municipalities falling within the OR Tambo and Alfred Nzo District Municipalities. This skills development project is an initiative of the Port St Johns Municipality in partnership with the Department of Transport and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) and implemented through the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board.

The youth are being trained on two core tracks, Deep Sea Diving and Life Guarding. On successful completion of the qualification, diving trainees assessed to be competent will be awarded a Master Scuba Diver Ticket issued by the National Association of Underwater Instructors.

Life Guard trainees who complete the qualification and are found to be competent will be awarded a Surf Lifesaving Award issued by Lifesaving South Africa.

The Department of Transport which is the main driver of maritime related projects in the province, hopes that the availability of these skills within the area will assist the small coastal town to overcome some of its challenges and position it to explore other opportunities within the maritime sector.

“As government, we want to accelerate the implementation of Operation Phakisa, in particular projects within the Oceans Economy and we believe that maritime related skills will be in high demand. It is therefore a strategic move to get our young people ready to participate,” said Tikana.  “This training will further increase their ability to access job opportunities in the sector.”

This skills development project forms part of a broader Maritime Development Programme for Port St Johns which will also see the establishment of a Maritime Resource Centre in the area.

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