SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) — A press conference was held at The National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA) to commemorate the signing of a two-year service-level tripartite agreement (SLA) between the NIPA, St. Maarten Marine Trade Association (SMMTA) and the Government of Sint Maarten, under the auspices of the National Employment Service Center (NESC) – a unit of the Division Labor Affairs and Social Services. Present at the meeting were NIPA stakeholders, representatives of the SMMTA, as well as members of the NESC. St. Maarten’s economy has a very large stake in the marine industry, which has the potential to create a great deal of opportunities in vocational education and eventually the employment sector.
This SLA is the first of its kind. It will solidify a partnership between the three organisations, giving the students of the trade school access to untapped resources in the marine industry by working closely with the MTA. The SLA will also put an apprentice program into effect to accompany the courses. The NIPA chose to partner with the SMMTA to develop more understanding of what is desired within the marine industry in order to create a curriculum that caters to those needs. The NESC will bridge the gap between employability of those joining the program.
Maritime is not limited to sailing ships; it also entails a wide spectrum of services and employment prospects. Sint Maarten is quickly becoming one of the major hubs in the region for provisioning as well as a place to get work done on marine vessels. The objective is to create occupational opportunities for the local workforce. Once integrated people can choose to advance and move into more developed sectors of the industry.
The courses are scheduled to begin shortly and will focus on a variety of areas within maritime industry. They will be offered by Kids at Sea and Sint Maarten Sailing School, an important partner to this agreement. Some fourteen students have already signed up. As part of the maritime initiative the NIPA is currently in possession of a boat that the students are working on completing on time to race in the forty-first Heineken Regatta in 2021. Students at the Milton Peters College originally started the boat before Hurricane Irma. The students were part of the first incarnation of the Kidz at Sea program, which works to introduce local students to the boating industry via building and sailing.