The Head of Maritime Centre of Excellence Vincent Zulu has encouraged young people to take advantage of the opportunities that are available in the maritime sector.

Addressing the Maritime Induction Programme Workshop which was recently held at the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board’s offices in uMhlanga (Durban), he said the youth must take steps to seize the opportunities in the sector.

According to a presentation that was done at the workshop, KwaZulu-Natal has the smallest percentage of aquaculture farms in the country.

The Western Cape had most marine farms in the sector with the figures standing at 67%, followed by the Eastern Cape which accounts for 20% of the farms while the Northern Cape has10% of the farms.

The figures for KwaZulu-Natal stood at 3% which is an indication of the opportunities that are available in the sector.

“This calls for the youth to get up and organise themselves in order to get assistance in starting these projects,” Zulu said.

The Maritime Centre of Excellence offers skills development training in marine transport and manufacturing, offshore oil and gas exploration, aquaculture and aquaponics, marine protection services and ocean governance, small harbours development and coastal and marine tourism.

The organisation focuses on creating job opportunities and offering skills development to the youth.

Furthermore, the organisation is involved in community projects particularly in disadvantaged communities where they offer swimming lessons as well bursaries to students who want to pursue careers in Maritime.

The youth that attended the workshop are part of the Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP) which the Agribusiness Development Agency (ADA) initiated in 2016 with a purpose to unlock opportunities for youth in agribusiness

The ADA has forged a partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence to assist young people in the province to exploit the opportunities in the Maritime Sector.

The ADA will equip the youth with relevant skills in enterprise development, focusing on aquaculture and aquaponics.

The ADA serves as a catalyst for agribusiness development in the province, therefore opportunities like these are crucial in achieving this mandate.

The workshop proved to be fruitful as both organisations have similar strategic objectives.

The main objective of the session was to dissect the Maritime value chain and allow participants to identify opportunities in the maritime sector.