Grand Bahama Shipyard helping Bahamians excel
The Grand Bahama Shipyard (GBS) currently has 32 young men and women training in their apprentice program.
A four year on-the-job training course to learn the ropes of the ship repair business. But these are not the only Bahamians being assisted by GBS.
Gerard Douglas, a Marine Engineer and Licensed third Engineer, and Miles Wilkinson, a Naval Architect, have both earned their degrees thanks to the assistance of Grand Bahama Shipyard.
"After the completion of my first engineering degree at the College of The Bahamas in 2002, I joined the management training program at the Shipyard," said Douglas. "I thought it was a good opportunity to enhance my career."
While at the yard working in the Projects department, Douglas saw the need to further develop and educate himself in order to become an even greater asset to the company.
That's when he approached senior management and expressed his desire to study abroad at the SUNY Maritime College in New York for a degree in Marine Engineering.
"It was something I wanted to do but financially needed assistance. I was very pleased when the company agreed to sponsor my education. The entire experience was extremely rewarding and the knowledge I gained is paramount."
The same story can be told for the yard's most recent graduate, Miles Wilkinson, who just completed his Naval Architectural Degree from Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada. "After two years in Florida working towards my architectural degree I came home due to finances," recalls Wilkinson.
"I was lucky enough to secure a place in the yard's apprentice program and they moved me into the Technical Department. It was just a matter of showing management what I was capable of and that I could do the work!"
His calculations paid off and after four years, Wilkinson has his degree and is back with the shipyard.
He currently is on work assignment in Texas directing the progress of an important shipyard equipment acquisition. Wilkinson, like Douglas, thoroughly enjoyed his travel abroad but was eager to come home to the simpler life and a good paying job in The Bahamas. "I will always be extremely grateful to the Grand Bahama Shipyard for the opportunities they have afforded me," noted Wilkinson.
"I want to lead by example for those following behind me and show the new apprentices what they can accomplish with self-determination, a proper work ethic and a sense of purpose."
When asked what advice he would give young men and women studying, Douglas said "The Bahamas is beginning to play even more of a major role in the maritime industry. We now can boast of having the 5th largest ship registry in the world. The government of the Bahamas has recognised the importance of the maritime industry to the Bahamas and has therefore begun placing more emphasis on the opportunities available to young Bahamians and the positive impact that the industry has on the economy of The Bahamas."
He continued, "I would advise our youth to begin seeking out one of the many career paths available in the maritime industry. I am extremely proud of my accomplishments and I find my career thus far in the maritime industry very rewarding. The Gra-nd Bahama Shipyard is an excellent example of the positive impact that this industry has had on the economy and the community on Grand Bahama Island alone. We have a good future in the maritime industry and we should encourage our future generation to embrace it."
© 2012 The Freeport News