Students of the Seychelles Maritime Academy (Seychelles News Agency-file photo)
(Seychelles News Agency) – A group of 18 students, whose main interest lies in the fisheries sector, has been given a second chance to study at the Seychelles Maritime Academy (SMA), where they will be undertaking the Sustainable Fisheries Programme for young seafarers.
The 18 students of various ages are those who did not get accepted to the academy upon completion of their secondary school studies but will now have the opportunity to learn various aspects of fishing and life at sea, during the four-months course.
Speaking to the students, during the orientation day held on Tuesday morning, the Director of SMA, Captain Prasanna Sedrick, urged the students to seize the second chance they have been given and to give it their best, so that this course can continue and benefit others.
“You, the young people of Seychelles are the backbone of the country, and we will give you everything you will need to succeed, but you also have to do your part,” said Sedrick.
As part of the programme, the students will learn numerous maritime techniques, including safety, marine mechanics, hook and line preparation, fish trap making and navigation, among others.
This marks another step in the country’s efforts to bring more young people into the fisheries sector, which at the moment is dominated by the older generation.
The programme is being supported by the Ministry for Fisheries and Blue Economy, the Ministry of Education, as well as the Ministry for Employment.
“Throughout the years, I have learnt that there are a number of students who do not qualify to get admission to the academy and they end up sitting at home for a long time, where they eventually lose interest in the field they had dreamt of working in,” said the fisheries minister, Jean-Francois Ferrari.
He added that this is not a good thing, and this is why this second chance has been given to these young people.
Addressing the students during the launch of the course, Ferrari expressed his desire to see all the students succeed in this course and go on to higher levels.
“If you fail, I will also fail,” he said. “We have given you a second chance to develop and get a career in the sector you love and you must make the most of it.”
One of the students, Aurelie Yat-Kwan, aged 16, said that her dream is to work on one of Seychelles’ tankers.
“When I got the call from the minister himself, telling me about this course, I had no hesitation at all in saying yes,” said Aurelie, who said that after finishing her secondary studies last year and failing to be accepted by SMA, she has been out at sea with her uncle during this time.
Speaking to the media, the head of fisheries programme at SMA, Michael Barbe, said the aim is for this programme to continue, where others can join in the future and help to keep the sector alive, especially among the younger generation.
“We definitely want to have more of this and hope we can have a second one before this year ends, where we want it to be open to not only students who have just finished secondary education, but to anyone looking to get into the fisheries sector,” added Barbe.