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(December 14, 2000, Gazette)

MI gets boost
Smooth sailing

There’ll be smooth sailing ahead for more Marine Institute students next year. The marine transportation’s industry has a shortage of qualified ships’ officers and to meet the need, the provincial government and Memorial are funding the Marine Engineering and Nautical Science degree/diploma programs at the Marine Institute. The marine transportation industry will also make a significant contribution through a cadet workterm placement program and other industrial services.

In September 2001, the Marine Institute will increase enrollment in its marine transportation programs from 96 students to 144 with the annual intake doubling to 192 students in 2004.

Although more and more women are choosing careers traditionally held by men, they continue to be under-represented in the marine transportation industry. Part of the university’s plan for placing students in these programs is to aggressively market the programs to both women and men with the goal of achieving gender balance.

“It is well known that one of the cornerstones of economic development for our province is educational opportunities for our people. In fact, when we conducted public consultations for the Jobs and Growth initiative last year, we heard a clear message that education and training programs should be matched and coordinated with existing and future job opportunities. Today’s announcement shows that we have listened and responded,” said Premier Beaton Tulk.

“Statistics show that students in marine transportation programs earn in excess of $65,000 annually upon graduation and well over 90 per cent of graduates stay in the province, with most in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. When fully implemented, the number of new jobs created annually in the marine sector will double to 100. When coupled with the spin-off effects, this is a fine return on our investment for this project and a strong indication of government’s commitment to education and to our provincial Jobs and Growth initiative,” said Premier Beaton Tulk.

Dr. Axel Meisen, president of Memorial University is pleased the provincial government and the university are able to participate in this initiative. “The university is delighted to support this initiative because it will lead to excellent, high-paying career opportunities for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,” he said. “Graduates from the Marine Institute’s nautical science and marine engineering programs enjoy extremely good job prospects. The Marine Institute is already recognized as a world leader in marine training and this initiative will consolidate our position.”

“Support for this initiative clearly demonstrates that the government and the university recognize the significant contribution Newfoundland and Labrador mariners make to our economy and our communities,” said Leslie O’Reilly, executive director of the Marine Institute. “Many mariners from this province work with shipping companies nationally and internationally, but tend overwhelmingly to continue living here, building their families, their homes and their livelihoods here.”

The marine transportation industry welcomes the institute’s initiative to increase its capacity in the ships’ officers programs. In response to this announcement, Captain Sid Hynes, chairman of Canship Ugland Ltd., operator of the Hibernia shuttle tankers, said, “I am pleased to hear of increased opportunities for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to compete for the many well-paying, challenging jobs available in the international merchant marine. Our crews on all three high-technology Hibernia shuttle tankers and on both Whiffen Head Transshipment Terminal escort tugs are predominantly local persons trained at the Marine Institute, proof that the province’s seagoing heritage is alive and well. During recruitment for these ships we noted the worldwide shortage of officers (forecast over 15 years ago), the competitiveness of Canadians, and a technical competence based on the Marine Institute’s training programs and facilities.”

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