Ricochet News

Maritime Training – Transnet ploughing back scarce skills into the Eastern Cape

Apr 1, 2019
Maritime Training – Transnet ploughing back scarce skills into the Eastern Cape

Transnet's Port of Ngqura is contributing to local skills development

Port Elizabeth - The Port of Ngqura is proudly making a significant contribution to the development of critical skills required by the South African port system, with the intake of seven marine cadets recently.

They represent a group of ten cadets, out of a national port pipeline of 31, who have just completed their required academic and sea borne training before being employed by the port for three years to complete their Tug Master training.

The other three of the ten cadets are being employed by the Port of Richards Bay as Trainee Tug Masters. 21 cadets are still in the process of completing their cadetship at academic institutions or at sea.

Developing a pipeline of skills

“TNPA has embarked on this initiative in 2012 to develop a pipeline of these scarce skills, vital to our operations. To date 90% of TNPA’s Tug Masters and Marine Pilots are products of this programme. Some have advanced to Deputy Harbour Masters, Harbour Masters and Marine Operations Managers – qualifications that are high in demand internationally,” said Siphokazi Maqetuka, HR Manager of the Port of Ngqura.

“Through this programme we are not only preparing youth for maritime careers to meet the needs of the ports, but we are also uplifting surrounding communities. We have various interventions in place to attract and develop these highly skilled young people.

"It begins at previously disadvantaged high school where we offer bursaries to deserving matriculants at adopted schools nationally. Our maritime career awareness programme includes media exposure, career exhibitions, visits to schools, allowing learners to visit our ports and partnerships with various stakeholders in the education sphere,” Siphokazi said.

Ploughing back into the Eastern Cape

The seven trainees, now gaining workplace experience in the Port of Ngqura, were initially recruited from schools in the Eastern Cape. They have now come back to their home port after being away, completing their academic studies and sea-time experience elsewhere. They represent five males and two females and have been employed from November 2018 for three years.

Tug Master training

“The Tug Master Trainees are trained to handle and manoeuvre tugboats within port limits and in rare cases they will do coastal voyages between ports. The training also include the managing of crew and ensuring that tug maintenance is done effectively,” said Sibusiso Dlamini, Tug Master in the Port of Ngqura, assisting the Tug Master Trainees with tug handling skills as well as SAMSA requirements and regulations.

Continuously improving operational efficiency

“This initiative is more than just bricks and mortar or the latest technology. None of our strategic plans can succeed without having the appropriate pipeline of maritime skills, knowledge and experience in place.

"At the heart of this programme is the need to continuously improve the operational efficiency of our ports, to remain globally competitive and in the process lower the cost of doing business, offering our customers quality service,” said Siphokazi.

Image: From the left are Trainee Tug Masters Lulamile Mnyila, Bongi Nomqhuphu, Ntombizonke Khayisa, Awonke Notshulwana, Olwethu Mzimeli, Makabongwe Sibandile and Anda Mzinyathi.

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