93 Mediterranean maritime academy graduates find their sea legs

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The first 93 graduates from the Mediterranean Maritime Academy are already placed on ships or on their way to joining the merchant navy, with the Limassol-based school preparing a further 304 cadets ready to sail to new careers.

Academy Captain Yiorgos Vlachos told the Financial Mirror: “The shipping community should give an opportunity to these young talents who have set their sights on a career in the maritime sector, where the Cyprus and Greek shipping clusters play a dominant role.”

The Class of 2017 includes 53 potential Chief Officers and 40 Second Engineers who have finished two academic years and need to complete a total of 12 months of training on board vessels in order to get their certificate.

Eventually, they will move up the ladder to become Masters and Chief Engineers.

Capt. Vlachos is encouraged to see that about a third of the graduates were enrolled locally and the rest were from Greece, who need the Cyprus institution’s qualification to get a job as an officer with a shipping company.

“What is even more encouraging is that six of our graduates were girls, taking down yet another barrier towards achieving ‘diversity on board’, and we hope to have more female graduates in the years to come,” he said.

The graduation ceremony at the Parklane Hotel in Limassol was buzzing with young cadets hoping to embark on a new career in a sector where Cyprus has not produced many officers in recent years.

Talking about new job opportunities in ‘blue careers’, Deputy Minister for Shipping, Natasa Pilides said: “we are glad that the number of male and female graduates who choose the shipping profession is constantly increasing”.

She welcomed the 93 young people who graduated from the Cypriot nautical school, the Mediterranean Maritime Academy in Limassol.

Pilides added that apart from the maritime sector accounting for about 7% of Cyprus GDP, those working in onshore and onboard positions account for about 3% of the entire Cyprus labour force.

Also present at the graduation ceremony, officiated by the academy’s director, Panagis Tzortzatos, were officials from the Cyprus Union of Shipowners and the Cyprus Chamber of Shipping, and representatives from some of the leading shipping companies in Cyprus.

The Mediterranean Maritime Academy in Limassol offers career training and qualification courses for the positions of Master, Chief Engineer, Chief Mate and Second Engineer.

The institution’s collaboration with the Cosmos Nautical Training Centre in Greece also provides vocational training and diplomas for shipping crews seeking to elevate their rank or secure accreditation that will open up opportunities for promotion.

Fees are €4,320 per academic year of nine months. The course runs for two years and candidates need to fulfil 12 months of on-board training in order to graduate.

Cadets usually take a 3 to 6-month placement between the first and second academic year and often complete the balance of the 12-month requirement at the end of their course.

“Having been placed on board a vessel, the feedback we have received about our students has been extremely positive, as many of them may be offered permanent positions,” Capt. Vlachos said.

The next graduation is expected in winter 2020/2021.