Two SJPI Students Receive Minister’s Maritime Awards

Two students enrolled in the discipline of Maritime Studies at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI) have been presented with the Minister’s Award of Maritime Excellence for 2022.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Ian Gooding-Edghill, congratulated and presented 20-year old Abigail Rollock and 40-year-old Shawn Seales with awards on Friday, January 13, for their outstanding performances in the Marine Diesel Engineering Diploma Programme and Marine Operations Certificate Programme, respectively.

During the ceremony at the Ministry’s One Barbados Place, Warrens, St. Michael location, Minister Gooding-Edghill noted that the Minister’s Award is intended to encourage students to seek careers in the marine sector, which he noted as having “vital importance” to Barbados’ socio-economic development.

Minister Gooding-Edghill stated: “The maritime sector is fundamental to a nation’s socio-economic development, especially for small island developing states (SIDS), which are primarily reliant on the importation of goods and services. This is illustrated by the efficient, reliable and low cost transportation provided by ships, which bring essential commodities to the region; cruise ships which bring visitors to our shores; and fishermen and watersports operators, for example, who ply their trade in our waters.”

The International Transport Minister indicated that the ever-evolving shipping sector is now being impacted by digitalisation, decarbonisation and the introduction of autonomous ships and remote control centres, which has resulted in a demand for personnel at sea and on-shore to be increasingly skilled and trained in the most up-to-date technologies.

He noted that there is currently a deficit of human resource capacity in the maritime sector, and to ensure that Barbados continuously rolls out a cadre of skilled maritime workers, the Ministry has sought as a first-step to engage with local training institutions in the development of on-shore and at-sea training. 

It is intended to equip Barbadians to work locally or abroad, either on board vessels at all levels of crew, or on shore in areas such as port management, regulatory or maritime related services, thus creating sustainable employment in this area. 

“I anticipate that graduates of these training programmes will participate in the development and growth of new industries, such as shipbuilding and repair and shipping logistics,” the Minister said.

Chief Executive Officer, Barbados Port Inc. (BPI), David Jean-Marie, emphasised that “maritime education must evolve to become fully integrated with new developments in maritime environments, both built and natural”. 

He noted that “there must also be a balance of theoretical and practical knowledge to meet ever-changing national and international standards within the maritime industry”.

The CEO reported that at the BPI a positive environment for aspiring students looking to build a career in maritime had been created, and in the last five years, 20 “marine enthusiast” students from the SJPI had interned with teams based at the Port of Bridgetown. 

Both Ms. Rollock and Mr. Seales received plaques and cheques of $750.00 each, and as part of their award will participate in a six-month internship at the Barbados Port Inc.