IN a major boost to the developing ocean economy in South Africa, merSETA is to provide R30 million over the next three years to NMMU to, among others, establish a Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Marine Engineering degree.

This is part of merSETA’s contribution to the strategic Operation Phakisa initiative of Government, which focuses on the “blue” economy. Operation Phakisa seeks to unlock the economic potential of the country’s oceans.

“Not only will this agreement allow for the generation of new qualifications in the developing sector of marine engineering, but it also allows for the development of TVET curricula as well as creating progression for TVET learners to university in the marine sector,” says merSETA CEO Dr Raymond Patel.

“The investment by merSETA demonstrates their confidence in NMMU and will enable the university to source top experts in the marine engineering field to teach, support and grow students in the maritime industry, increase research for naval architecture and ship engineering, as well as establish NMMU as a world class maritime university,” says Vice-Chancellor Prof Derrick Swartz.

This agreement will also open up new job opportunities for participants. NMMU has completed the initial design of the academic programme for the new Marine Engineering degree and will now follow formal procedures for approval via the Department of Higher Education and Training.

It is envisaged the new degree start in 2017.