The Ocean Ambassadors Foundation (OAF) has trained 40 secondary schoolchildren and 15 teachers on maritime tourism and soft skills to build the interest of younger generation in the maritime sector.
The training by the OAF Independence School to Sea Career programme with the theme: ‘Introduction to Maritime Soft Skills and Maritime Tourism,’ was held recently in Lagos.
Speaking at the event, Mrs Oluchi Okafor, the Managing Director, Multimix, noted that maritime tourism had always been neglected adding that exposing these young ones to its rudiments would help them to know the opportunities in the sector.
Okafor explained that with the training the students would understand that apart from seeking to be seafarer, they could also focus on the hospitality side.
“Tourism has always been the neglected part of the maritime industry, most people look at the shipping and international trade aspect of it, but there is more attention coming in now towards tourism.
“Lagos State is doing fantastic job around maritime tourism, a lot more marine based resorts and event centres are popping up, especially around the Lekki-Ajah side and this brings employment opportunities to the sector,” she said.
She appreciated the foundation for the opportunity given to the younger ones especially the girl-child as the industry in the past had been dominated by men.
Also, Mr Dapo Olakulehin, the General Manager, Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA), described the coconut value chain as an untapped space urging the students to show interest in the space.
Olakulehin represented by Mr Akorede Adeboye, Senior Agricultural Officer, LASCODA, said that every part of coconut tree was useful, from the leaves to the roots.
“The leaves are used to make broom, mat; fruits has versatile usage; trunk used majorly in the furniture industry and roots use for herbal drugs and crafts.
“With the coconut arts and crafts, the authority have been able to train 2,000 youths and they have recorded so many success stories,” he said.
Mr Kalusky Yechiel, the Managing Director, Marine Division Lagos Channel Management, said it was nice seeing younger generation of Nigerians being motivated to grow in the maritime sector.
“This is the way to grow and we are here to support local content,” Yechiel said.
Also speaking, Mrs Theodora Nwaeze, Human Resources Manager, LTT Coastal and Marine Services Ltd., while educating the student on tourism, said there were jobs opportunities in the tourism side of the maritime sector.
“The good thing about the event is that these young ones will go onboard vessels, see the different parts of the vessel and this will serve as tourism for them.
“As you visit the port, I want you all to know that you can be a captain of a vessel, port manager, maritime lawyer, crane manager and also understand that apart from jobs in the vessel, there are others in office,” she said.
Earlier, Mrs Violet Williams, the President of OAF, noted that acquiring skills was essential for one to compete globally with their peers in the industry.
Williams said the foundation had been talking about career opportunities in the maritime sector, noting that there would be a paradigm shift with the training.
“Today is learning and relearning for everybody because these are emerging topics and our children should not be left behind.
“We have the coconut value chain, it is used for so many things and we need to learn those things.
“Also, with the marine and blue economy ministry government established, they have seen a change because of the global village concept and this will help the sector,” she said.
Also, the Lagos Port Manager, Mr Charles Okaga, commended the foundation for training the pupils on the opportunities in the maritime sector.
“You are doing a very good thing by directing the attention of these young ones to the maritime sector which will position them to easily take up a career in the sector,” Okaga said.