150 to get training in yachting industry

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

L-R: Ministry officials and recruits at the launch of the Yachting Marine Apprenticeship Programme (YMAP) at the UTT Marine Campus, Western Main Road, Chaguaramas, on July 10 – Photo by Paula Lindo

The Yachting Marine Apprenticeship Programme (YMAP) will develop a pool of trained and certified personnel to further enhance the sector’s productivity competitiveness and attractiveness to both local and international customers. The inaugural programme will cost $7.5 million to train 150 recruits.

The programme is being administered by MIC-IT in conjunction with UTT, the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, the Education Ministry, the Trade and Industry Ministry and the Caribbean Fisheries Training and Development Industry (CFTDI).

Speaking to Newsday after the programme launch at the UTT Marine Campus, Western Main Road, Chaguaramas, recruits said they were enthusiastic about the opportunity.

Laventille resident Jemarc Quash-Boxhill said he was grateful to be a part of the programme. He said the yachting and marine industry had not been developed as much as it could be.

“I have done some part-time work before in this sector, and I grew up over time fishing and whatnot.”A lot of experienced guys in this field are getting older, and they are going with their knowledge with them. They are also breaking down the number of people that are being trained to come back into the field, not on purpose, because most of the time they’re only training their children, friends or close relatives, which is not nepotism in any form or fashion, but just who is around.

Attendees at the launch of the Yachting Marine Apprenticeship Programme (YMAP) launch at the UTT Marine Campus, Western Main Road, Chaguaramas, on July 10 – Photo by Paula Lindo

“I believe they should continue with this opportunity for more people, and expand it, because it will make a lot of money for our country that we have been missing out on.”

Of the 150 recruits, approximately 20 were women. One, from Belmont, said she was happy to be part of the programme.

“I look forward to getting my certificate, forwarding my plumbing, just being successful and taking care of myself and my parents.”

Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said last week she visited the boatyards at Chaguaramas and witnessed first-hand the significant influx of vessels from neighbouring islands affected by Hurricane Beryl.

“I can tell you that we accommodated close to 200 vessels and provided a safe haven at a time of great distress. An attractive element of TT’s blue economy is our strategic geographic location below the hurricane belt. This positions the country as an ideal place for sailing, as well as for the storage, repair and maintenance of yachts and other marine vessels.”

She said a 2023 report from US-based market research firm Grand View Research said the demand for yachts has gradually expanded over the last few years, owing to rising disposable income, increased focus on leisure or recreational activities and growing preference for luxury tourism.

Gopee-Scoon said this fact, as well as the inclusion of luxury features in pleasure craft for improved performance and enhanced customer experience, changes in the processes involved in manufacturing yachts, and the use of electronically controlled fuel-injection systems meant the yachting sector was becoming more sophisticated and TT must review its product offerings.

She said YMAP will include training in key areas through both in-class and practical sessions. It will also feature a period of industrial attachment in which trainees will be placed at companies within the sector to gain practical experience. The programme includes a monthly stipend of $1,500 and employment opportunities in the sector on graduating.

“In the first instance, the programme will matriculate one cohort of 150 trainees, with 15 trainees placed into one of ten areas of specialization. These were developed based on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Occupational Standards. The programme is directly tied to industry best practices.”

L-R: MIC-IT training division acting general manager Nathan Langaigne, Trade and Industry Ministry permanent secretary Randall Karim, Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, MIC-IT chairman Prof Emeritus Clement Imbert, Education Ministry permanent secretary Simone Williams, Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Ministry permanent secretary Farook Hosein and Caribbean Fisheries Training and Development Institute chairman Nerissa Lucky at the launch of the YMAP at the UTT Marine Campus, Chaguaramas, on July 10 – Photo by Paula Lindo

The areas of specialisation include: sail repair; marine air-conditioning and refrigeration; marine plumbing; renewable energy systems for the boating industry; marine cleaning, painting and repairs; marine electrical and electronics; woodworking for the marine industry; marine welding and fabrication and marine mechanics.

On completion of the six-nine-month programme, depending on the area of specialisation, graduates will receive a Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) Level 1 Certificate or a CVQ Level 2 Advanced Certificate.

MIC-IT training division acting general manager Nathan Langaigne said the yacht owners who came to TT to avoid Beryl describe it as the Caribbean’s safe harbour from storms.

He said YMAP came about after research among key stakeholders noted a shortage of skilled workers and a lack of formal training and skills certification affecting the sector.

“Trainees will be coached by skilled professionals operating within the maintenance service field of the maritime industrial sector. The programme will prepare the participants with the fundamental knowledge and skills required to troubleshoot, repair, service and maintain seagoing vessels in the area of specialisation.”

CFDTI chairman Nerissa Lucky said in preparation for YMAP, the institution provided the space for six laboratories/work spaces to facilitate training in renewable energy, sail repairs, electrical and electronics technology, air conditioning and refrigeration technology, marine plumbing and boat cleaning and repairs.

She said CFTDI will also accommodate MIC-IT by allowing the use of its engineering workshop, engineering lab and rigging and splicing classroom. It is expected that part of the holistic training provided through the memorandum of understanding between CFTDI and MIC-IT will require students to be trained in the basic programmes provided by the CFTDI.

MIC-IT chairman Prof Emeritus Clement Imbert said MIC-IT was very proud to collaborate with the Ministry of Trade and Industry on this programme and commended the Trade and Industry Ministry for placing priority on such a vital industry among TT’s youth.