Maritime industry remains a great source of employment, career opportunities, Umoren tells students


… Tasks students on skills acquisition, development

The Secretary General of the Abuja MoU, Captain Sunday Umoren has assured the Nigerian maritime students that the maritime industry remains a great source of employment and career opportunities.

Umoren who gave the assurance in his presentation at the 2022 edition of the Annual Maritime Students and Youth (AMSAY) Conference organized by Platform Communications in Lagos on Friday observed that those opportunities offered by the maritime world would have serious multiplier effect on other related sectors with the latest estimate by the Oxford Department being the ratio of 1 to 1.6.

He pointed out that the maritime industry was of crucial importance to modern society and sustainability of any port or litoral state adding that the maritime sector remained a potential wealth pond that if well exploited, explodes with unlimited influence and with expanded goals as an essential element of social and economic development.

“The maritime industry holds a myriads of employment opportunities within itself. This is one exciting field which offered marine employments with a lot of opportunities, adventures, fun and financial rewards. One can take advantage of all these opportunities and become a maritime expert. The maritime industry is currently the most global, innovative and forward looking industry, its employment rate, value creation and spill over to other industries make it an important driving force in business and industries.

“The maritime industry is composed of organizations and activities such as maritime transportation, the naval industry – that is the naval engineering and ship building companies and the components supply sectors, commissioned fishing and aquaculture industry, the crews and recreational industries, sports and commercial ports and mariners, marine energy sources, navies, marine and ocean research and sciences, maritime training academies and training centres, a wide range of professional services around the maritime activities and professional associations, trade unions and organizations supporting the rights and interests of seafarers and maritime professionals.

“The maritime industry is of huge importance in terms of natural resources and energy, trade and industry, sciences and leisure activities. You get to work in different types of transportation in maritime operations. It could be inland, domestic, coastal, shipping and the ocean going which professionally we call the foreign going. They generally covered the offshore oil exploration and production industry and the crew sector, cargo sectors and support services”, he said.

The Secretary General maintained that deciding on the maritime could be really tough especially getting parents’ support even as he said that it could be a tough decision to make or the hardest part to convince parents as some could be mad to scream up, “why on earth would you consider this aspect of life?”

“So, the answer is not far fetched as a career in the maritime industry has a lot of advantages. Some of them are high starting wages, better benefits as in pounds, dollars and naira, rewards for competency and proficiency, international connections, opportunities for quick advancement, working with closed group of people, travelling opportunities, adventures, career flexibility, ongoing training and skills development, job security, easily transferrable job skills and others”, he added.

Speaking on the skill or job, which comes first, he said, “The maritime world is critically not too complicated and thus, our answer to which comes first as in skill or job is that this could tilt either way and one pathway may actually turn out to be slower and longer while the other could mean an estimated price in vertical progression.

“You can’t start looking for a job without having skill and generally, what government do is what they call determination of skill gap. Some years back, Chinese government went in on massive training, they flooded the European schools and American schools with their students to learn skills and today, they are all back in China and China that was nowhere in ship building, today, has become one of the topmost of ship building nations in the world.

“After determination of skills gap, the next thing is skills development which brings us to training, more training and retraining, the more the skills development. This is to ensure that people enter the labour market well equipped.

“The demand and supply principles should be applied here. This requires serious mapping as it is path dependent and requires a serious investment but with great return on investment. Skills development has to be intentional and be an integral part of strategy to actualization of a plan to capture what they need in the maritime cluster.

“Skills begat skills as one should always remember that the return on investment. It takes about two decades for these skills investment to translate to more productive framework”, he explained.

While pointing out that there were lots of maritime training institutions out there, he warned that before deciding on which school to go, students must be sure that that school was accredited so they won’t go wasting their time.

He said, “So, for skills development, please ensure that you don’t align with an unaccredited academy. So, after the skills development, there is also the skills formation. Maritime is competency and proficiency, it’s not what you are holding, you will go to test. So, that Skill must be resident in you. After skills formation, there is what is called mismatches in the supply and demand of skills and the impact of globalization. There is also the policy priorities for job strategies.

“Skills acquisition which is more about saleability or marketability of an individual, you are a product and so, you must be saleable. Quality and excellence are the watchwords that can improve your visibility but your attitude is that which will sustain you. Quality and excellence have a lot to do with the maritime and it also has a lot to do with how responsible you are.”

Photo: Former Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Temisan Omatseye (2nd left), Prof. Callistus Ibe of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (3rd left), the convener of AMSAY conference, Mr. Sylvanus Obasi (middle) and Dr. Mrs. Chinwe Felicia Mogo during the just concluded AMSAY conference in Lagos, Nigeria recently.

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