The maritime industry provides an array of unique employment opportunities for those seeking a career that is both challenging and rewarding, says former Bahamas Maritime Cadet Corps (BMCC) student Julianna Rolle.
The former Doris L. Johnson Secondary School student is currently the only Bahamian working aboard the MS Bahamas Celebration and is a student of Holland College in Canada where she is pursuing a degree in marine engineering with the goal of becoming a chief engineer.
A member of the BMCC program for the past five years, Rolle said, she initially became interested in pursuing a career in the maritime industry after having enrolled in the program at her high school in 2006.
Not intimidated by the fact that the maritime industry is mostly dominated by men, Rolle says she is passionate about her career choice and making her mark in the maritime industry both as a Bahamian and a female. Hence, she is diligently seeking to attain her unlimited ocean-going third engineerâ s license.
"I have been with the Bahamas Maritime Cadet Corps Program for the past five years.
"I originally joined the program when I entered Grade 11 at Doris L. Johnson Secondary School in Nassau and I have never been happier.
"Through the BMCC program I was able to gain a deeper appreciation for the maritime industry and the various fields of study associated with it, including obtaining exposure to the business, marine and technology management concepts of the industry," Rolle said.
The MS Bahamas Celebration is a mid-size cruise ship owned by Celebration Cruise Line and managed by ISP (International Shipping Partners) and Rolle notes that working aboard the MS Bahamas Celebration as a trainee engineer has provided her with the perfect opportunity to not only get a step closer to completing the sea time required to earn her third engineerâ s license, but it gives her a chance to put into practice what she has learned in the classroom as well as and gain practical hands-on experience in her field of study.
The career opportunities within the maritime industry are vast; therefore, Rolle feels there is a great need for Bahamians to be educated on those opportunities and thereby gain an appreciation and interest in the industry like she has.
"I sincerely appreciate this opportunity to work on the Bahamas Celebration for three months in an effort to earn my license.
"Presently I have completed my sea time and have one exam remaining that will help me to become a licensed third engineer.
"Upon completion of that I will then have to complete some more sea time as well as the examinations necessary for me to become a licensed second engineer and from there I will continue on in my quest to become a chief engineer.
"I really enjoy the field that I am in and I am hoping to be an example to fellow Bahamians and hopefully get them interested in learning about the maritime industry, and pursue a career in the maritime field.
"Even though the maritime industry is male dominated, I would advise young women looking for a fulfilling and challenging career not to be intimidated by that single fact.
"Personally it is a challenge in some aspects but it is a challenge I welcome and I am proud to know that I can do just as well or even better than any male in my field once I remain focused, dedicated to my craft and enhancing my skill set," she said.
Clayton Curtis coordinator of the Grand Bahama BMCC said, he is extremely proud of Rolle and while he did not work with her personally in the BMCC program, he is pleased to note she is yet another fine example of how well the program doing.
"I am not only proud of the fact that Julianna is a product of the BMCC but also of the fact that she is the only Bahamian at present working on the MS Bahamas Celebration, she is also studying marine engineering and she is a female doing exceptionally well within her field of study and holding her own in an industry predominated by males.
"Presently BMCC is trying to get students both male and female interested in the engineering careers because the opportunities available at sea is greater for those interested in engineering.
"Also for those studying engineering there are a number of career opportunities available to them once they have completed their sea time.
"Essentially an engineering plant whether or not it is aboard a ship, at the Grand Bahama Power Company, the hospital or the hotel are basically the same so we want students to know that they are not locked in having to work aboard a ship if they do not want to.
"Once they would have gotten the training, experience and the license like Julianna is doing opportunities abound.
"Again I am really proud of her and another female student that is apart of the BMCC fraternity in the person of Jade Evans who is completing her chief engineering license," said Curtis.
The BMCC coordinator says the program is developing well and it is catching on thanks to the efforts of the media and other person and he wants to especially thank the Royal Bahamas Defence Force officers that serve as instructors in the program.
Curtis says the maritime industry is unofficially known as the fourth pillar of the Bahamian economy and Bahamians should take advantage of all opportunities the industry provides.
Grand Bahama Shipyard Company (GBSC) training manager Don Forbes also sung the praises of Rolle and the BMCC program revealing that the company took both Curtis and Rolle on a tour of the shipyard to show them why the company is considered one of the best shipyards in the world.
"We showed Julianna our dry docks, gave her a history of the ships that we service as well as introduced her to persons of various nationalities that are working at our company who bring their talent to the shipyard.
"We try to harvest the talent provided by all especially in our apprentice training program, which we presently have 30 persons in and one day hope to have working in the positions that our international workers are currently working in.
" Some much of what we do has to be synchronized in order for us to get jobs out on time from scheduling, ordering materials and fabrication even before ships come in and that makes the GBSC one of the best shipyards in the world.
" So I believe both Julianna and Mr. Curtis was appreciative of the information we provided and the efficiency of our service to our customers as well as the type of work we do for the very ships she would have worked on or in future have the opportunity to work on," said Forbes.
Rolle said she is grateful for everything she has learned about GBSC and notes that even though her field of study is predominated by males she was proud to see females making their mark at the company during her tour.
" While I cannot lift a piston or an engine block by myself like some of my male counterparts can, I am proud that I possess the same learning capabilities as the men in my field, I can work and perform my duties just as well as any male and I be a success and earn a living as an engineer in the maritime industry.
" I am thankful to Mr. Forbes for giving me a tour of the shipyard, encouraging my efforts and letting me see despite the fact that I am a female right at the shipyard are examples of women doing working and doing well alongside their male co-workers.
" I am extremely thankful to the BMCC program and my instructors who opened my eyes to the wonderful world of the maritime industry and all it has to offer," said Rolle, noting that all Bahamians should rise to the opportunities the maritime industry provides
She assured interest females. "the maritime industry is not only engine and deck work, but it entails a gamut of things like careers in marine transportation, marine business and commerce administration, international transportation and trade, engineering, humanities, naval architecture and marine environmental science so take advantage of it.
" I have been contracted to work on the Bahamas Celebration for three months to complete my course but when I am done getting my licenses I hope to work on other ships with my dream ship being the Oasis of the Sea cruise liner and I know if I can achieve it so can anyone else."