South Africa - Durban - 16 August 2019 - The Christening Ceremony of the new container ship - MSC Aino that took place at the D-Shed, Durban Port on the 16 August 2019. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency(ANA)
DURBAN -  KwaZulu-Natal currently faces an acute shortage of maritime-related skills especially those of boatbuilding facilitators/instructors.  

The Moses Kotane Institute(MKI) chief executive Thandeka Ellenson said having conducted a desktop study and having spoken to boat-building companies in KwaZulu-Natal, skills development was identified as a major constraint in the maritime sector. “As it is, there aren’t any assessors and moderators of the formal boatbuilding qualifications that are from KwaZulu-Natal,” said Ellenson.

It was determined that most employees in the boatbuilding sector are not certified. The intention is to certify about fifty boatbuilders in the first year and doubling it annually for the next three years through the Boatbuilding Capacity Development Programme(BCDP). 

The programme targets people who have worked for at least 5 years in a boatbuilding facility, have a minimum of a grade 10 but preferably matric and are citizens of KZN.

To resolve the problem, the Recognition of Prior Learning track of the MKI BCDP is aimed to empower skilled boatbuilders to become qualified facilitators, assessors and moderators. 

This will increase the pool of available skills development practitioners to enable larger scale training projects to be undertaken.The programme’s Practical Training track is aimed at increasing the pool of skilled boatbuilders to enable the production capacity within the KZN province. The Moses Kotane Institute, through the Enterprise Development Sub-Programme, will have six boats availed to Coastal and Marine Tourism enterprises which will be built during the Practical Training component of the BCDP.

The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) track is structured as a series of four workshops that will be held for three to four days a month. The first two workshops will be on the technical aspects of the boatbuilding industry focusing on the current curriculum. The last two workshops will be on the Facilitator, Assessor and Moderator training programme.

The Practical Training track will take six months where in the first month, beneficiaries will be trained on occupational health and safety, first aid, pneumatic tools and given exposure visits to the boatbuilding factories. In the second month beneficiaries will learn boat-building design, work on the boat mould and learn about boat safety. In months three-five, they will be building inflatable boats and inland water boats and the last/sixth  month will be about fitting the boat engines.

Ellenson said this was not an academic programme but rather a capacity building with the intended outcomes being to create a pool of boatbuilding practitioners who can on one hand train more boatbuilders (RPL Track) and on the other hand (Practical Training Track) ensure there is a pool of skilled boat-builders to build the many boats required as a result of coastal and marine tourism demand and the export market.  

Upon completion, beneficiaries will receive the Award in Boatbuilding and the next phase will be for the Enterprise Development Track where the beneficiaries are to be capacitated to start their own boatbuilding related ventures.

RPL Track beneficiaries that seek employment as facilitators, assessors and moderators will be assisted with the building portfolios and registering with the relevant education and training quality assurance bodies.

The provincial government is said to have identified the boatbuilding sector in its strategic plans (including Operation Phakisa) as a major opportunity to stimulate new investments, exports and job creation. A systems thinking approach to sector development borders on three key thematic areas of  infrastructure, enterprise and skills development.

Ellensen said the MKI’s Enterprise Development Sub-programme is intended to capacitate emerging enterprises in maritime sector including Coastal and Marine Tourism (CMT). “These enterprises will then require boats for taking tourists to among other activities diving tours, dolphin watching, turtle watching, spear/recreational fishing and other boat leisure activities.”

“The availability of skilled boatbuilders addresses the supply-side of the boatbuilding sector. The boats that will be produced by the boatbuilders will be used in the CMT sector, thus stimulating the demand-side of the boatbuilding sector. The interplay between the two maritime sub-sectors will create an economic ecosystem that will result in economic growth and job creation,” said Ellensen.

MKI’s mandate as it relates to maritime is coordinating maritime sector development.  The KwaZulu-Natal Integrated Maritime Strategy (KIMS) overall objective is for KZN to be a maritime gateway for Africa. MKI’s maritime sector strategy is to stimulate the supply-side and demand-side sectors of the maritime through applied research, innovation, maritime skills and enterprise development. The export potential for boatbuilding is huge thus the BCDP is designed to increase the supply-side with the aim of opening avenues for exporting the higher margin boats.

MKI’s mandate with regards to the maritime is coordinating the sector development.The KwaZulu-Natal Integrated Maritime Strategy (KIMS) overall objective is for KZN to be a maritime gateway for Africa. MKI’s maritime sector strategy also revolves on stimulating the supply-side and demand-side sectors of the maritime through applied research, innovation, maritime skills and enterprise development. The export potential for boatbuilding is said to be huge thus the BCDP is designed to increase the supply-side with the aim of opening avenues for exporting the higher margin boats.

While there will be no technological training for the first cohort, MKI said it was currently evaluating the use-case applications for technology in the boatbuilding sector.

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