The Ocean Ambassadors Foundation (OAF) has trained 40 secondary school pupils and 15 teachers on maritime tourism and maritime soft skills to build interest in maritime sector among younger generation.
The training, the OAF Independence School to Sea Career programme with theme,’ Introduction to Maritime Soft Skills and Maritime Tourism was held in Lagos on Tuesday.
Speaking, Mrs Oluchi Okafor Managing Director, Multimix noted that maritime tourism had always been neglected adding that introducing these young ones would enable them know the potential that abound in the sector.
Okafor added that the students would understand that apart from seeking to be seafarer, they could 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 the male.
On the soft skills in the maritime industry, she said they could be people skills which has to do with active listening, teamwork; problem solving skills; emotional intelligence; work ethics and learning attitude skills.
Also, Mr Dapo Olakulehin, General Manager, Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA) noted that the coconut value chain was an untapped sapce urging the students to show interest in the space.
Olakulehin represented by Mr Akorede Adeboye, Senior Agricultural Officer, LASCODA, pointed out that there was no waste in coconut tree as from the leaves to the trunk and even root was useful.
“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.
He noted that any schools that want to get into the coconut value chain should contact them and they would gladly include them.
Mr Kalusky Yechiel, Managing Director, Marine Division Lagos Channel Management noted that it was nice seeing younger generation of Nigerians who are motivated to grow in the maritime sector.
According to Yechiel, they are particular about the younger ones because that is the way some of the workers started.
“This is the way to grow and we are here to support local content,” he said.
Also, Mrs Theodora Nwaeze, Human Resources Manager, LTT Coastal and Marine Services Ltd., while educating the student on tourism pointed out that there are 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 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, President OAF, noted that acquiring skills was essential for one to be able to compete globally with their peers.
Williams added that they had been talking about career opportunities in the maritime sector but today, there was going to be a paradigm shift.
“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, its been used for so many things and we need to learn of 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.
Meanwhile, a practical craft training was carried out by a veteran coconut artist, and member of Society of Nigerian Artists, Lagos State Chapter, Mr. Nathaniel Hodonu.
The Badagry-born craftsman, who is also a member of the Circle of Nigerian Coconut Artists, showed how coconut and its bi-products could be deployed for arts, crafts and designs.
He equally explained how his ingenuity got him featured on BBC, Reuters, among other local and international media platforms to discuss arts following his three solo exhibitions and numerous group shows.