OAF, APMT Introduce Maritime Tourism, Water Hyacinth Crafts, Others To Students

As part of its catch-them-young initiative to ensure a sustainable supply of Nigerian maritime human capital, Ocean Ambassadors Foundation (OAF) partnered AP Moller Terminals Apapa, to introduce secondary school students to maritime careers and vocations.

The training, which was held at APMT Apapa facility on Thursday, was part of activities to commemorate the 2024 International Children’s Day, as over 60 children from public and private schools were exposed to maritime tourism, boat making, art from water hyacinths and other soft skills in the blue economy.

Speaking at the conference, the Founder of OAF, Hon. Olaitan Williams, noted that it was part of the Children’s Day Blue Talents School to Sea Career Program, even as she charged the participating students to maximize the learning and networking opportunities.

“Today, we are talking about career opportunities in maritime and it’s not just about the sciences because there is now the infusion of art. The creativity industry in Nigeria is tipped to have over 10 million jobs while the marine and blue economy has potential for over 20 million jobs.”

“We will show you how these industries are linked. The question you should ask yourself is what roles or what aspect of the over 30 million jobs you want in future. It’s time to decide to shape your tomorrow and you should appreciate your schools for allowing you to be here,” Williams said.

In his welcome remarks, the Terminal Manager, APMT Apapa, Mr. Knudsen Steen, equally advised the participating students and teachers to maximize the learning opportunities at the event.

During a presentation on waste to wealth management, the Managing Director/ CEO of MitiMeth, an award-winning artisan enterprise based in Nigeria, Mrs. Achenyo Idachaba-Obaro, showcased some beautiful items including; mats, bags, baskets, textiles and rugs crafted from water hyacinths.

“You should be curious, open to new opportunities and unafraid to try new things as you pursue your aspirations. The maritime sector, historically, has been a male-dominated industry but that it fast changing. You will find that even in our organization (APMT) there is a high number of female staff at Human Resources, Administration, Legal and other departments,” Knudsen said.

“A lot of you know about water hyacinths which is seen as waste and a challenge to navigation on inland waterways. We transform water hyacinths into beautiful artefacts. We have reached over 150 communities in Nigeria to get them involved in this project which creates massive job opportunities,” she said.

Achenyo, who was listed amongst the 2023 Leading Ladies Africa’s 100 Most Women in Nigeria, revealed that her organization is willing to partner with schools and students via training.

Earlier, a Maritime Tourist, Dr. I.B Adepoju, explained the vast opportunities for tourism in the Nigerian maritime sector and stressed that students aren’t too young to start planning for their future via studying, research and mentorship.

“There are numerous opportunities in the maritime sector and this training exposes you to some of them. If you like to be a lawyer, there are maritime lawyers; Marine Engineers, Hyperbaric Doctors, and even Accountants have a place in maritime. There is also diving.”

“We are talking about tourism today and it’s huge. You should start by learning about yourself and you can choose a career path in maritime that suits your personality and likes,” he said.

A beautiful presentation on coconuts was given by Mr. Amusat Olatunji, Head of Planning, Research and Statistical department, Lagos State Coconut Development Authority is a parastatal of the State’ Ministry of Agriculture.

While there were several other paper presentations on vocations and careers in maritime, the climax of the event was the boarding of a vessel by the participating students at APM Terminal in Apapa.

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