Christopher Mahoune (Cousin warden and former MTC student) holding a hawksbill turtle hatchling which sometimes need help getting thorugh obstacles to get to the sea
As a dedicated partner of the Maritime Training Centre (MTC), Nature Seychelles has once again, as it has for the past several years taken part in the MTC’s Open Week. MTC is holding its annual Open Week which started on Monday 27th of October, running all week to Friday 31st of October.
MTC is this year working under the theme “Go to Sea” which is an initiative of the International Maritime Organization, aimed at propelling youth to take up careers at sea. MTC invited Nature Seychelles and other organizations working in the maritime and / or fisheries industry to its open week so that young people can learn of the wide ranging professional opportunities in these sectors.
Eric Blais (Cousin Island Special Reserve coordinator) speaking to an MTC parent about Nature Seychelles' Maritime work
Through exhibitions, organizations have been showcasing their work to secondary and post-secondary students, as well as their parents and the general public. Students and parents had the opportunity to learn about Nature Seychelles’ work on Mahe, Cousin and Praslin from the information leaflets, brochures and magazines, as well as speaking to Eric Blais, Cousin Island Special Reserve coordinator.
Eric spoke to those who visited the Nature Seychelles booth about the organisation’s reef rescue project including how coral is grown in underwater nurseries. When speaking of the turtle monitoring work on Cousin Island Special Reserve which is managed by Nature Seychelles, some students were intrigued to learn that turtles actually do lay and hatch on Cousin. These turtles are in fact monitored, tagged and in some instances rescued by staff and volunteers.
Several navigation students from MTC were interested to learn whether their studies could lead them to work on a special reserve like Cousin. “We have had many MTC students go through Cousin over the years” Eric told them. In fact, currently out of the seven wardens working on Cousin, four of them are former students of MTC. Dalius Benoit has worked as a warden on cousin for two years, Christopher Mahoune three years, Marcus Dubel two years and Jules Medor one year.
Former MTC students trained by Nature Seychelles as wardens on Cousin Island are some of the best boatsmen in Seychelles.
These wardens’ duties include tour guiding for local and international tourists, beaching and boat handling, assisting in research and conservation activities as well as other general maritime and operational work on the island.
The challenge comes about in absorbing all these students into the workforce as employees or interns. One of the student’s parents who visited Nature Seychelles booth on Monday was concerned that her daughter who is studying to be a marine biologist did her placement in water sports as this was the only opportunity available for her.
MTC in their invitation to various organisations stated that it hopes that through the success of the annual open days and continued application for studies to MTC, it will better address “the vacancies in the maritime / fisheries sector in the years to come”.
An MTC student and his mother walking through the training centre grounds located in Providence, Mahe.
"We have been working closely with MTC over the years to ensure that the curriculum and teaching are more aligned with what we need in our sector.” Says Dr Nimal Shah, Nature Seychelles CEO. “I am gratified that with MTC’s partnership with CINEC in navigation training, the graduates will hopefully be more professionally oriented,” he added.
CINEC (Colombo International Nautical and Engineering College) a maritime training college in Sri Lanka, and MTC have recently signed an agreement to develop more courses and training programs in line with the Seychelles maritime needs while working towards achieving ISO 1001quality management standards in the sector.