As a finalist in the Skills Development category at the 2018 Oliver Empowerment Awards which recognise exceptional contributions to sustainable transformation in South Africa, majority Black South African owned specialist marine solutions provider African Marine Solutions (AMSOL) remains a leader in this niche market.
“We believe that investing significantly in the training and development of our employees, who are shareholders in the business, is what sets us apart in an industry that has high compliance, competence and skill requirements and competes for talent on a global platform,” comments AMSOL’s Human Resources Executive Nceba Mfini, who believes that skills development is an important part of the company’s employee value proposition and contributes to the development of a high performance culture.
A MARKET LEADER
AMSOL employs 550 South Africans and is active in the Ports, Energy, Mining and Maritime sectors where it provides specialist marine solutions to clients that include Shell, BP, PetroSA, De Beers, Sapref and the South African Departments of Environmental Affairs and Transport, amongst others. Management and employees own 32% of the business and the company is 60% owned by Black South Africans.
With an accreddited Cadet Training Scheme, seafarer Rating Training Programme, Diver Training Programme as well as internships, AMSOL proritises experiential training as an important compotent of talent development. The company’s tertiary bursary programme has included students of Maritime Studies and Marine Engineering as well as Oceanography and Climatology at Masters level, reflecting AMSOL’s commitment to sustainability.
AMSOL values a diverse workplace and has recently partnered with training service provider Athena in Durban to invest in the training of young people living with disabilities. The company also offers learnerships to employees in relevant roles, supporting their career goals whilst at the same time increasing the value they offer the business and its clients.
A CULTURE OF PEER DEVELOPMENT
The unique characteristics of the maritime industry and career paths of seafarers dictate that relevant experiential training at sea is a component part of achieveing Certificates of Competency. It is with this in mind that AMSOL is constantly developing employees to achieve higher ranks – and the company’s fleet of 17 bunker barges, tugs, offshore supply launches and specialist vessels operating in Southern Africa are training platforms in their own right.
Notes Nceba Mfini: “It is because of the importance of on-the-job exposure that we are a training community at AMSOL – with higher ranked seafarers playing an important role in mentoring, guiding and teaching those in lower ranks who are under development.”
It is this community spirit that supports a culture of learning and peer development at AMSOL, aligned with the company’s values.
PROMOTING MARITIME EDUCATION & AWARENESS
It is not just the development of its own employees that AMSOL believes is the key to transformation in the maritime sector. The company supports a talent pipeline that starts at secondary school level where AMSOL funds bursaries for specialist maritime education – and has partnered with maritime educators to develop both textbook and online resources to supplement learning for more than 1500 learners at 25 secondary schools offering maritime subjects in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Eastern Cape and Western Cape in South Africa.
Nceba Mfini explains. “Over three years, we funded the development of Grade 10, 11 and 12 Maritime Economics textbooks and sponsored these resources which were distributed to learners of this subject across South Africa.”
The author, Balungile Masuku, is a South African entrepreuner and maritime educator – and her textbook has filled a vital gap in maritime education. AMSOL also worked closely with maritime educator Brian Ingpen to develop a freely available online resource for both learners and educators – located at www.maritimesa.org.
With localisation a priority as the company expands onto the continent, AMSOL is indeed Africa’s marine solution.