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Nomalanga Sokhela

Maritime Industry Development Programme Manager, Economic Development Unit, eThekwini Municipality / City of Durban, South Africa

 Learning and development in the port cities

Rapid global changes in economy in general have necessitated change in the learning and development outlook and arena to respond to the ever changing needs as demanded by various sectors that are meant to contribute to economic development in cities. Focus on Port City development is a new phenomenon that has come with its own demands and fosters a rethink especially in terms of ensuring that skills that will help the maritime sector thrive are developed.
This paper will therefore firstly discuss the skills needed by Port Cities in general across the globe. It will further zoom into the South African context with regard to the skills that are currently available and those in demand especially in the Port of Durban. The current assessment that we have made in Durban is that there is a serious shortage of maritime or port skills and this will require an enormous investments into those skills sets but also continuous development of staff working in the city so that they remain relevant to the demands of skills by the Port City. It has also become very clear that some of our staff who already have qualifications or prior training will need to be re-skilled or up-skilled to meet the new demands. Most of the conventional qualifications are no longer relevant and there is a need for overhaul of curricular to maintain relevance. It is for this reason that institutions of higher learning have been engaged to re-think their curricular. Durban has also realized that to support the current Oceans Economy Project by the National Government, it needs to re-skill its workforce in the maritime sector. There are  also other sectors that will benefit from this government program such as Tourism and there is therefore a need to develop supportive skills as well.
The City of Durban has recently had a Maritime Conference (wherein I presented a paper on learning and development) and it will be interesting to share the resolutions with this conference.


Nomalanga Sokhela is a Maritime Industry Development Programme Manager from Ethekwini Municipality, Economic Development Unit, and Durban, South Africa.  She was instrumental in the setting up of the Ethekwini Maritime Cluster.  She has been working with the Maritime Industry with the past 10 years.
Nomalanga holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences, Masters in Environment and Development-Land Information Management Systems. She also has a Post Graduate Diploma in Management and currently working towards her dissertation for Masters of Commerce (Maritime studies) all with the University of KwaZulu Natal.
Her areas of focus on local and global partnerships for implementing projects relating to skills development, innovation, enterprise development, maritime manufacturing as well as maritime industry promotion.