A career capital approach in the training and development of merchant marine seafarers: the case of South Africa
Ghosh, S and Ruggunan, S, A career capital approach in the training and development of merchant marine seafarers: the case of South Africa, Proceedings of IAMU AGA 17, 26-29 October 2016, Haiphong, Vietnam, pp. 352-359. ISBN 978-604-937-120-2 (2016) [Refereed Conference Paper]
The South African state in 2014 launched a maritime focused economic revival programme known as operation ‘Phakisa’. Inspired by Malaysia’s ‘Big Fast Results’ method of economic revival, the South African state, hopes to treble the maritime sector’s current R60 Billion-Rand contribution to the economy by 2033. Part of the strategy is for the maritime sector to create between 800,000 and 1 million direct jobs. This is part of a wider African renaissance of the continent’s maritime economy. The purpose of this paper is to assess the extent to which job creation of merchant marine seafarers is possible within this broader economic strategy. This paper argues that the ambition to grow South Africa’s seafaring labour market to 19,000 by 2019 may represent political rhetoric rather than reality. It does not fully take into account a dysfunctional secondary and tertiary education system, and a racialised and iniquitous labour market. This paper argues that a more sophisticated understanding of career choices of potential seafaring cadets is needed. Drawing on a sample of 120 South African cadets at various levels of their academic training the paper demonstrates that the biggest predictor of whether young people chose a career at sea is dependent on them having a family member in the present or past that has also worked at sea. Given that black South Africans were not allowed to train as officers until 1994, and that black officers only entered the labour market in significant numbers recently, there is limited generational history of seafaring amongst the current cohort of black cadets. Further students are making career decision based on instrumental decision making processes rather than viewing the occupation as a ‘calling’. The qualitative data allows us to apply the theory of career capital as a more sophisticated way of understanding career choice amongst cadets. The paper concludes that policies targeting greater racial equality in the labour market, quality teaching in mathematics and science, and greater experiential education and exposure to occupations at sea ought to be pursued. A focus on these will increase the chances of operation ‘Phakisa’ succeeding.
Refereed Conference Paper
training, seafarers, policy, South Africa, Career Theory, ballast water management, port state control, flag state control