AASTS organized virtual orientation sessions to connect maritime professionals with students from government school


The Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport branch in Sharjah (AASTS), recently organized virtual orientation sessions under the initiative titled “Connecting maritime professionals with leaders of tomorrow”. The primary goal of the event was to connect government school students with leading names in the maritime sector.

The Academy invited industry leaders, who shared ideas and experiences with students to inform them on the maritime industry operations. They also shared insights on the opportunities in the sector that is growing leaps and bounds. Through this initiative, the Academy hopes to encourage the younger generation to work in the maritime industry, and drive the growth of the sector.

Honing young talent

The orientation session was held over a course of two days with the participation of Mr. Yousif Yacoub Al Mansouri, Director, Office of the Chairman for the Board of Trustees, AASTS; Prof. Mohamed Khedr, Dean of Admission & Registration, AASTS; Dr. Capt. Ahmed Youssef, Associate Dean, College of Maritime Transport and Technology, AASTS; Dr. Mohamed ElGohary, Director of Admission & Registration Dept., AASTS and Capt. Marwa El Selehdar, Chief Mate, Business Development Coordinator, International Forum for Maritime Transport, AASTMT. Speakers shared anecdotes from their career, while also emphasizing the importance of receiving the right kind of training and preparation in order to have a successful career in the sector.

H.E. Dr. Ismail Abdel Ghaffar Ismail Farag, President of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport said, “At the Academy, we believe in providing full support to our students, helping them cultivate their talent and unlock their potential. Our mission is to graduate skilled professionals who will add value to the industry. By providing them with practical experiences and we allow them to get a hands-on experience. We also encourage them to think outside the box and focus on innovation, imagination, and the utility of technology-enabled solutions. We are confident that these interactive sessions that unite competent maritime professionals and government school students will inspire the younger generation to be a part of the industry.”

Mr. Yousif Yacoub Al Mansouri, Director, Office of the Chairman for the Board of Trustees, AASTS said, “The maritime industry is a vibrant and competitive industry that holds great potential for the future generation in terms of progress and development. Our purpose behind initiating this networking platform is to inform and educate the future generation by facilitating the exchange of ideas and experiences by well-established maritime professionals. We are working in line with the goals set by the wise leadership of the UAE, in alignment with the UAE’s National Youth Agenda that hopes to empower the younger generation. To help students make an informed career choice, we believe it is our responsibility as the leading maritime academy in the region to provide them with the right resources and give them access to key industry leaders.”

Need for practical training

Speaking about the numerous benefits of the platform that helps students and aspiring maritime professionals gain knowledge from experts, Dr. Capt.  Ahmed Youssef, Associate Dean, College of Maritime Transport and Technology, AASTS said, “At AASTS, we provide a cohesive learning experience. We give utmost importance to academics and theoretical knowledge, but we also firmly believe that practical experiences are essential. Interactions with industry experts will enrich their learning and give them a clear picture of the industry and the success they can achieve as maritime professionals. Eventually, by inspiring our students, we hope to contribute to the success of the national, regional and global industry that is in dire need of talented individuals.”

During the session, Capt. Marwa El Selehdar, Chief Mate, Business Development Coordinator, International Forum for Maritime Transport, AASTMT stressed on the significance of having practical experience onboard ships. She said: “Although the maritime industry is male-dominated, in the recent years, women are making a mark. It is the need of the hour to inspire the younger generation, irrespective of their gender. The Academy has consistently taken efforts to do so. It is also recognized for having the highest percentage of female students among maritime academies in the Middle East and North Africa. Enrolled female students account for more than 43 per cent of the total number of students. I am certain that the orientation session will attract talented and competent future leaders to the industry, enhancing these figures in the coming years.”

Capt. Mohammed Ajjan, Fleet Manager, Zakher Marine International & QMS said, “We rarely speak about the maritime sector in schools and colleges. To ensure that there is awareness about this sector that is essential to economies around the world, initiatives like the orientation session by the Academy are crucial. There is an urgent need to highlight the various career options in the sector that has seen a steady growth despite the global pandemic. Initiatives such as these help students to directly connect with industry professionals, gain first-hand accounts of their experiences and hear from successful figures.

Over the years, the Academy has conducted various workshops and sessions to aid the development of its students. Despite the pandemic, the Academy incorporated hybrid learning to ensure that students get access to effective learning in order to kickstart their maritime careers.