Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has completed the construction of its Maritime Training Center at the Port of Cape Town and the institution will run its first courses in September 2018.
TNPA refurbished an underutilized building at the port to house the center, which will offer marine skills development programs and apprenticeships to youth from previously disadvantaged communities and employees within Transnet.
The project is part of TNPA’s role as a lead implementer of Government’s Operation Phakisa program which aims to unlock the economic potential of the country’s Oceans Economy. Maritime skills development is crucial for the achievement of ambitious targets within the program.
Cape Town Port Manager, Mpumi Dweba-Kwetana, said, “As an agency of the state we have a responsibility to contribute positively to the economy of the country by providing proper skills development programs, training artisans and developing engineers to ensure the sustainability of our ports and to stimulate growth of the maritime economy. These skills will ensure that young people can participate meaningfully in the economic development of the country.”
Marine courses on offer at the new center will include the accredited Dock Master Training Program, Ship and Boat Building courses, a Ship Maintenance program and internationally accredited Lighthouse and Navigational Systems programs.
The Maritime Training Center will leverage off existing partnerships with institutions such as the Transnet Maritime School of Excellence (MSoE), False Bay College, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and Northlink College.
Key training programs will include General Purpose Rating, Berthing Master, Master Port Operations, Skipper Port Operations, Able Seafarer Deck, Ordinary Seafarer Engine, Ordinary Seafarer Deck, Fitter and Turner, Electrician and Information Communication and Technology courses.
Demand is high for critical skills such as Dock Masters who often work abnormal hours due to shortages. TNPA needs to train more than 50 dock masters across the port system.
Transnet runs a number of programs to address these skills gaps. The Transnet Academy offers comprehensive training pertaining to maritime, rail and pipelines. There are also programs for Young Professionals in Training, Engineers in Training and Technicians in Training, as well as Marine Cadet and Marine Pilot training programs, including bursaries and workplace experience.
“Through the Maritime Training Center, we aspire to develop the skills of the South African workforce, increase the levels of investment in education and training and use the workplace as an active learning environment,” said Dweba-Kwetana.
She also said TNPA employees would be provided with opportunities to acquire new skills, in addition to the center being used to improve the employment prospects of previously disadvantaged persons.