The Managing Director, Nigerdock, Mr Adebola Adesoye, on Thursday urged secondary school students to choose careers in the marine profession to enable them to fill the existing gaps in the sector.
Adebola made the appeal when Mrs Violet Williams, the Convener, Ocean Ambassadors Foundation, and some students visited Nigerdock facilities in Lagos.
According to him, Nigerdock encourages students to visit its facilities, not just because they are students, but because it believes that youths are the leaders of tomorrow.
“This is the best time to start building the personnel that will take over from the people that are retiring from the profession.
“We have a succession plan at Nigerdock, whereby we groom younger folks to take over from the older ones who have worked for 10 years to 25 years and are due for retirement.
“We have quite a number of youth corps members currently learning on the job; they see what we do and are prepared to take over from people retiring.
“Apart from shipyard, we also do fabrication, logistics and are a service company.
“We have been urging the government to ensure that there are projects in the system so that employment of personnel will be guaranteed, so also training for students and other employees will be guaranteed,’’ Adesoye said.
He encouraged students to ensure that they visit the company at least twice yearly to enable them build more interest in the maritime profession.
The managing director said that before they could excel in maritime operations, that they needed to acquire knowledge and training on the profession.
Adebayo said that before he became the managing director of Nigerdock, he had been working with the company as a youth corps member since 2009.
He said that he rose through the ranks in different departments.
The managing director advised them to improve on their education to enable them to pass their exams to study maritime-related courses in the universities.
Williams, on her part, said that the foundation’s maritime quiz was a ‘catch them young’ initiative to attract youths to the maritime sector in the School to Sea Campaign.
She said that she started the programme since 2014 to expose students to maritime the profession, urging stakeholders to support the School to Sea initiative, to enable the coming generation to rewrite the history of maritime in Nigeria.
“We appreciate the support of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and ENL Consortium for making their ports available for students to get exposure.
“We wanted to take the students to Ghana to do a comparative analysis of their ports and those of Nigeria, but could not because we had no sponsor,’’ Williams said.
The convener said that, already, one of their quiz students had undertaken the study of marine engineering due to the exposure.
Williams commended the effort of the Nigerdock management for considering exposing the students to ship drydocking.
The Shipyard Administrator at Nigerdock, Mr Danladi David, encouraged students to limit the time they spent on phones and to read more of science-related courses to enable them to join the marine profession.
Other Nigerdock officials such as the Dockmaster of Nigerdock, Mr Guillermo Silang, and the Health Safety Manager of Nigerdock, Samuel Okon, also explained the technicalities of the dock and safety to the students.
Students of three secondary schools, Ansar-Ud-Deen Senior High School, Baptist Academy and the Wiled Dove Secondary School joined on the tour to Nigerdock.