Cape Town – A new non-profit enterprise aims to invest in the oceans economy by teaching unemployed youth marine manufacturing skills.
The oceans sector in Cape Town has been identified as an industry that can provide many job opportunities in a country that experiences high unemployment, and the establishment of Blue Cape seeks to create a space for marine skills to be formed.
Founding director of Blue Cape Vanessa Davidson said: “Marine manufacturing is one of our focus areas, but we are also looking at teaching young people very specific skills that are needed to drive job opportunities. These courses don’t exist and we will be developing first-of-a-kind courses in partnership with industry. They need to be established not for gain, but rather to upskill ocean-minded youth so they are work ready since these skills and knowledge are not generic.”
Davidson said supplementary courses would have to be created to train young deckhands to work on sport fishing boats, Kayak guides needed ocean-relevant training and riggers on sail boats would need specific on-the-job training and internship opportunities. Other skills included survival swimming, lifeguarding, fibreglass repairs, sail-making, kite-making and ocean awareness, she said.
“We also have ocean-aware youth in many areas in the Cape. Geographically we are a gateway to the polar regions and the Indian Ocean islands for the super yacht sector looking for alternate cruising grounds. We have world-class super yacht training facilities and a network of South African super yacht captains around the world to leverage our excellent work reputation,” Davidson said.
Mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management James Vos said: “Facilitating investment that will lead to job creation and skills development in Cape Town is needed now more than ever, as we work hard to minimise the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I have long recognised the potential for the boat-building industry to be a catalytic sector which can create jobs for our residents and bring in more investment for our economy.” Vos said the funding would focus on marine manufacturing including boat-building, super yachts and ocean sports. Blue Cape would also manage a database of vetted super yacht suppliers.
Davidson said the full opening of the institution would be dependent on the Covid-19 pandemic running its course.
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