Outgoing MIASA chief takes on new role

By Bobby Jordan
Fri Feb 17 2017, 09:13 AM

Vanessa Davidson has joined the South African International Maritime Institute as deputy CEO

The outgoing chief executive of the Maritime Industry Association of South Africa (MIASA) has taken up a senior post within the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI).

Vanessa Davidson this week confirmed her appointment as SAIMI Deputy CEO in charge of strategic projects. She will coordinate and manage SAIMI projects, advocacy, relationship building and representation on national forums.

She told IBI she believed SAIMI was well-positioned to promote local boatbuilding: “With an industry led response to skills and the need for specialist and flexible training provision, I hope that SAIMI can contribute to a medium to long term skills solution for both the boat and ship building sector in South Africa,” Davidson said. “It will require partnerships and close monitoring of labour demand and skills supply to ensure that we train and educate for the long term economic benefit to the sector.

Recommendations around new qualifications and curricula to address shortfalls in supply are critical as well as building a strong relationship with public and private training providers in the marine manufacturing space.”

Davidson, who led MIASA for five years, believes skills training remains the key to future growth in the boatbuilding sector: “Skills is an ongoing challenge for boat builders. I don’t think it is only a South African challenge. Worldwide, we need to look at how we provide specialist skills training and education to keep pace with new innovations in materials, work processes and equipment.”

“Faster, lighter, more efficient and more responsive to market demand means staff need to be trained accordingly. Closely aligned to this is leveraging developed supply chain networks to achieve greater levels of productivity,” she said.

Additional challenges included insufficient shore-side infrastructure for launch and mooring.

Davidson's successor at MIASA is Mark Smith, who will also take charge of the South African Boatbuilders Export Council. The two organisations will formally merge later this year.