In a bid to inspire, train and encourage young Nigerians towards developing careers in maritime, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) organized a strategic summit for primary schools on maritime studies, yesterday.
The event which held at the Outer Marina, CMS Jetty, was organized in collaboration with Ocean Ambassadors Foundation (OAF) to mark the 2022 World Maritime Day.
With twenty Lagos Island schools participating in the essay competition, only ten primary schools participated in semi finals for Primary 5 and 6 pupils on the theme: “New Technologies for Greener Shipping.”
The highlight of the programme was the launch of a Career Chart displaying maritime careers alphabetically and disseminated to various primary schools at event.
Speaking at the event, the Lagos Area Manager, NIWA, Mrs. Sarat Braimah said that the programme strategically positioned to get young ones pick careers in the maritime industry and grow to provide technological innovations needed in the sector.
Her words: “This is part of the event to commemorate the 2022 World Maritime Day celebration. NIWA is in charge of primary schools, the Nigerian Ports Authority is for secondary schools and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency is for tertiary institutions. We are encouraging the young children to know and write about the new technologies for shipping and they have written a lot of essays and the most brilliant ones will emerge.”
“NIWA wants people to know and key into the theme of this year’s world maritime day because the new technologies will bring about greener shipping.”
Engr. Sarat stressed that the idea of greener shipping is about safety with emphasis on new engines, technology, innovative operations to have an eco friendly environment and secure inland waterways.
Also speaking, the Convener of Ocean Ambassadors Foundation, Mrs. Violet Williams, commended NIWA for the initiative, noting that the catching them young initiative would ensure there is a next generation of skilled workforce to take over from the aging maritime industry veterans.
“This programme is a unique programme which is targeted at getting the lowest level of students in primary school at the early stage of Primary 5 and 6. The essay on Greener Shipping is also a good one because it talks about new technologies in shipping”
“Presently with the catch them young programme at OAF, we have two girls studying Marine Engineering and two boys studying Nautical Sciences in Ghana, and today’s examiner is studying engineering at University of Lagos. It’s not easy but the resilience and the passion of the children keep driving me, because they want to learn more,” she said.
Delighted by NIWA’s initiative to have the event, Mrs. Williams challenged other parastatals to develop similar programmes for young ones to delve into maritime as it would create a succession plan for human resource in the sector.
Meanwhile, the Director of Education/Principal, Eko Akete Senior Grammar School, Mr. Abiodun Oladunjoye, expressed confidence that the young minds could better position the country to make technological advancement in shipping.
Noting that most of the schools were from Lagos Island, he stated that the programme availed the students an opportunity to better understand the marine environment and the numerous career and trade opportunities in the sector.
“Most of these students have not seen the potentials and prospect of Lagos Island even though most of them are born there. With this programme, they have been exposed to careers in maritime,” he said.