Women study marine jobs

Young women from South Africa and the Seychelles are being given a taste of marine science.

Half a dozen women aged between 17 and 23 are taking part in the inaugural Youth Ocean Ambassadors programme of the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF).

The programme is an intensive, 23-day survey of marine science careers that focuses on conservation, education, research and tourism.

The students will live and work together in Kalk Bay until late this month, with exposure to organisations such as the Island School Seychelles, Shark Spotters, Animal Ocean, the SOSF Shark Education Centre and Marine Dynamics Tours, as well as professionals working in the field of marine science.

The programme will explore conservation, education, research and tourism through presentations and discussions with the professionals, field work and observation. The participants will also study publications and be given verbal and written assignments. The programme will culminate in a workshop on public presentation, in which the young women will communicate to a general audience what they have learnt.

Programme developer and environmental education consultant Sunnye Collins says the programme aims to showcase the many avenues that can be travelled in the pursuit of a career in marine science.

“Not only that, we want to give these young women precious space and time to think about how they can create their own niche in this field. I think many young people have a narrow perspective of what it means to go into marine science,” she says.

The programme was conceived to be a Seychelles/South Africa collaboration, and during the selection process of students from the Island School Seychelles, the three strongest candidates were women. This prompted organisers to focus on local women to complete the group, Collins explains.

“We were looking for young women who had a proven track record of acting on their passion for ocean conservation,” she says.

South African participant Thaakirah Samaai believes the programme is “an amazing opportunity”.

“It will allow me to expand my knowledge, which will then allow me to expand others’ knowledge as well,” she says.

Seychellois Anthea Laurence says: “This programme is an excellent and timely opportunity. It will give me a glimpse into what I can expect of marine science and will inform my decisions about my future profession. Learning about the conservation practices of another country will also be a great experience.”

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