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Marine industry offers jobs to youth

Canada’s merchant marine industry is calling on youths from across the country including Pictou County to sign up for jobs as it battles an ongoing labour shortage.

The Seafarers International Union needs 300 new recruits immediately and, ongoing, has to fill positions left behind by an aging workforce. New recruits can enjoy stable employment, a paid education, skills upgrading and free room and board through the SIU’s unlicensed apprenticeship program.

I started as a seafarer when I was 21 years old, and it was the best decision I ever made. I was making more than $60,000 a year right out of high school,” said SIU member Vince Giannopoulos in a release Tuesday.

The SIU is teaming up with the Seafarers’ Training Institute, the Algoma Central Corporation, Canadian Steamship Lines and Groupe Desgangés to launch the national hiring campaign.

SIU members are hired to work for companies such as the Algoma Central Corporation and Groupe Desgagnés on vessels in the Great Lakes, as well as the East and West Coasts.

The SIU of Canada represents the majority of unlicensed sailors in Canada. Within the next five years, almost 20 per cent of SIU members will retire.

However, Canada’s marine shipping industry is projected to increase significantly over the next few years.

At the national level, the commercial marine shipping industry directly contributes $3 billion to Canada’s economy.

“The economic importance of Canada’s marine shipping industry cannot be understated. We need to fill jobs so we can continue to deliver important cargo across our country,” said James Given, president of the Seafarers’ Training Institute in the same release.

“Canada is a great trading nation, and joining our country’s merchant marine is a not just a smart career move, it’s a strategic one.”

Prospective recruits can both find out more about a career at sea and apply online at www.beaseafarer.ca.

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