A Chartered Shipbroker and Maritime Lecturer, Gertrude Ohene-Asienim (FICS) has underscored the significance of industry-specific training and capacity building for professionals within Ghana’s Shipping and Maritime industry.
Speaking on the Eye on Port program, she said providing the requisite industry specific training presents many benefits for professionals and the industry as a whole.
“The maritime sector is a very interesting area, you can be a doctor and still work onboard a vessel, but you need to have your mandatories to enable you to specialize and work on a vessel, you can even be a cook and work on-board a vessel. It is a very wide area” she expressed.
She emphasized that industry specific-training and capacity building not only promotes professionalism, but helps employees within a work space appreciate their roles in the entire shipping supply chain and act efficiently.
The academic, who is the first female Chartered Shipbroker in West Africa said Ghana can take a cue from Kenya where it is prerequisite for workers within the industry to possess a foundational diploma from the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS).
Gertrude Ohene-Asienim urged local companies in the industry to act more proactively when it comes to organizing training programs for employees.
“It’s always saddening to see that when you organize training, you have the multinational companies bringing people for training but very few coming from indigenous Ghanaian companies and yet we want to match boot-to-boot with these people. We have to understand that in order to thrive in this industry, we have to give our people continuous professional development,” she remarked.
She stated that in order for local companies to be able to achieve excellence and compete favorably in the shipping and maritime industry, they have to train personnel at the standard of their international peers.
She said the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) offers a vast array of maritime training courses which Ghanaians can take advantage of, as the country plans to compete favorably in the International Maritime Trade.
Gertrude Ohene-Asienim emphasized that the maritime industry spans beyond the port. She explained that maritime graduates and professionals can apply their skills in most industries engaged in international trade or shipping, hence should not limit themselves to the port.
“People when you talk about the maritime industry, you are talking about the port – that is a wrong notion. There are so many companies that have shipping departments or that are into international trade such as the manufacturing industries. So I will urge my students to not skew their expectations to just ports, but take their skills there too.”
She expressed optimism for the cabotage law in Ghana, which binds vessels working within Ghanaian territorial waters to train Ghanaian cadets on-board their vessels.
Mrs. Ohene-Asienim revealed that seafarers in the Philippines contribute 6 billion dollars to their country’s economy. This kind of money, she expressed, “is what Ghana is missing from not promoting our seafarers.”
She said Ghana has trained seafarers and marine engineers at the highest level yet, they are unable to ply their trade post-graduation due to unavailability of vessels to work in locally.
“We are wasting resources. Our crew are well-trained, dedicated and efficient. It is up to us to look for opportunities to put our men and women on board vessels. Look at how the cedi is falling. If we get 6 billion dollars back in our economy every year, it will help,” she bemoaned.
The Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers also expressed support for the local marine insurance protocol which she opined, will keep insurance revenues within Ghana, as well as make the claims process more efficient.