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Stakeholders urge students to take advantage of opportunities in maritime sector

Segun Oladipupo

The Executive Director, Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research, Prof. Capt. Abiodun Sule has tasked Nigerian students to key into the numerous advantages that exist in the maritime sector through the”Blue Economy”project.

The Executive Director, stated this at the 6th Annual Maritime Students and Youth (AMSAY) conference with the theme, “Job Creation For Nigerian Youths Through Maritime Sector”, organized by Platform Communications in Lagos over the weekend.

Sule who doubled as the Chairman of the occasion informed the students that there were lots of opportunities in the maritime industry adding that the Blue Economy which was about the sector, came with it, different jobs descriptions and opportunities.

He noted that “Energy is being harnessed from the Blue Economy, black gold is being harnessed from the Blue Economy, tourism goes on with the Blue Economy, shipping goes on in the Blue Economy and all these require manpower to man it.

“And so, I believe that if the youths are trained to come into this industry, we can take away a great number of our youth out of the shelf of unemployment because if you see today in the maritime sector, most of the players in the maritime sector are not Nigerians.

” The other day we were discussing and there was certain job description and they were looking for Nigerians and the job is called ETO, I think they repair equipment onboard most of our vessels.

“Now you find out that we don’t have Nigerians in that sector and if you are working for that niche, you are paid between $30 to $600 a day” he said.

In his goodwill message, a senior lecturer at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Prof. Callistus Ibe challenged the students to develop their critical thinking skills, dream dreams and be creative and innovative saying that all of these were the 21st century knowledge skills.

Professor Ibe urged the students to develop their knowledge and skills to benefit from the untapped potentials in the maritime sector.

He observed that the organizers of the conference had selected sixty technocrats in the maritime industry as mentors even as he advised them to start picking these wealth of knowledge and experiences to become the future experts in the maritime industry.

He said, “I have no doubt in me that the organizers of this AMSAY conference 2022 want you to become better professionals and better people hence this gathering of different professionals with different experiences and students from different schools offering maritime studies in Nigeria to come together and interact in a conference of this type. You cannot get it elsewhere.

“This is a rare opportunity in one’s academic life. Those of us here, your mentors never had this kind of opportunity, we lost it. We didn’t have it but in your own case, you are having it.

“I therefore urge you to make good use of this privileged opportunity and ensure that you maximized the greatest value of having these experienced professionals so that you can in turn become better professionals in future.

“You have been prepared to receive the greatest value because you have good and experienced professionals from the industry as your mentors. This is a take home of this AMSAY conference 2022.

” Go home and become better individuals and create value wherever you find yourself because you have interacted with best professionals in the industry.”

On his part, Founder and President, African Marine Environment Sustainability Initiative, Dr. Mrs. Chinwe Felicia Mogo advised the students to discover themselves first in whatever they set out to do; who they were and who they want to be adding,

“When you are able to tell yourself the truth, then, you kick off from there and if you discover yourself and know who you want to be, then you focus on those qualities that will make you who you want to be and not what you want another person to be; just you this time.”

“Focus on the important things and put yourself together, focus on your studies, get the best result and you will know whether you have job or not because once you have that knowledge, you will be able to diversify. You may not actually wait for somebody to employ you because you may end up becoming employers of labour.

“Reject negative peer pressure. We know it, we hear a lot of stories about what is happening in secondary schools, the Universities even in primary schools, things we never heard about before like cult.

“You have to dissociate yourself from such things. Let us not use religion to destroy ourselves and as I said, if you are focused, you will not get involved in anything political or religious that will lead to war or that will lead to the state of anarchy that will eventually consume you.

“Hard work pays and you must work very hard. All these opportunities in the private organizations that we have now in the maritime sector, eventually, they will hand over and nobody will like to hand over his lifetime sweat to a nonentity. So, you can imagine that you work hard and you make it. You may not even request for it, they will invite you, they will call on you.

“So, don’t worry about how the nation is, finish your school, make very good result and let’s see how it goes. I have always told people, there are opportunities, the sky is so wide that all birds fly without hitting themselves.

“Don’t be discouraged by what you are seeing now, just play your own part and I am telling you that it will be okay out there. So, for now, just focus on making the best result, that is your job for now. Understudy the good people you admire and how they made it and you will be like them.”

Assuring the students that there were so many opportunities in the maritime sector, she added, “from the way I am seeing it, the dynamism of it, how technology is overtaking, I believe it will favour you the younger generations than us because things are changing.

” You have robotics, some countries are talking about unmanned Vessels, drones to go and take samples of polluted areas and things like that.
“It’s changing so fast you know, it’s so impressive but I know that it’s providing more opportunities for you, even in the event where you have problem, if you want to make that change, you are talking about pollution, who will clear the pollution?
“Who will clear the marine litters? This is business also, it’s a business opportunity. So, make use of that opportunity and see how much you can achieve. Don’t ever be discouraged, you will make it.”

Also in his welcome address, Chief Executive Officer, Platforms Communications, Mr. Sylvanus Obasi called on the students to explore all avenues, policies in the sub-sector that can facilitate the chances for more job creation.

Obasi noted that the year’s edition AMSAY Conference was germane for the Nigerian youths adding that the future of Nigerian students must be secured in line with job creation and  potentials of the sector.

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