Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

Namibia: Namport Starts Skills Development Programme

Port authority, Namport has announced the start of a new skills development programme dubbed "Catch them Young" meant to nurture maritime skills at a tender age.

Namport Chairman, Jerry Muadinohamba, recently told guests during the 2012 President's Christmas Party that was held at Chetto in the Caprivi Region that the programme, to start this January, will create a strong maritime career foundation not only for the port authority but for the industry as well as the entire country.

The first intake of the programme will see two learners leave the country for South Africa this January. As part of the programme, Grade 9 students from marginalised groups will be recruited and groomed with the aim of determining their suitability to the maritime environment.

In addition, Namport says it is considering an adoption programme in conjunction with the office of the Prime Minister. Kids from marginalised communities will be identified and placed in boarding schools in urban areas as early as Grade 8 to feed the "Namport Boys and Girls Catch Them Young Program".

Muadinohamba says the programme was needed as "it became clear during our 2012 selection process that the performance and confidence levels of learners in the rural areas are lower compared to that of learners in urban areas."

"We pledge to work with this community in identifying at least 5 learners from the Kwecommunity in this area to join this programme over the next two years going forward. That will mean that the learners will be adopted by Namport from grade 8 up to 12 and further ..... and not only that these graduates will be employed by Namport as first choice and if we have no opportunity, the marine industry will pick them up. This translates into a partnership of 10 years of education if not 12 depending on choice of training and subsequent career," said the Namport Chairman.

As part of its capacity building programme, Namport currently has seventeen bursary holders specialising in the fields of civil engineering, mechanical engineering, medicine, accountancy, logistics management and law, with strong focus on marine law. The authority also sponsors fifteen marine engineers and deck officers in training that are currently attached to various academic institutions in South Africa, and others doing their sea-time.

For the last three years, Namport has invested over N$20 million into Education, Health and Entrepreneurial development projects across the country.

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