On October 15 and 16, the students of the Kidz at Sea Foundation’s ‘Zero to Hero’ Program participated in courses on boat maintenance to better understand the specifics of key products used in the industry hosted by Budget Marine. Through the existing partnership between Budget Marine and the Kidz at Sea Foundation, these students were able to follow four different training sessions given by representatives of well-known brands in the industry. The trainings covered a wide range of products from Epoxy & Polyester Resin given by Mr. Jeff Hargrove and Ms. Linda Munson from Clear Cote, Topcoats given by David Fix from Interlux/AWLGrip, to Basic Electronics given by Mr. Menno Ligterink and Mr. Rob Bessette representing the brands Ancor, Marinco & Mastervolt. An earlier training was given in September on Varnish by Alexander Zonjee representing Epifanes.
The brand representatives were happy with the level of interest and participation from the students. According to Shaëeza Ramjiawan, who joined the ‘Zero to Hero’ Program as a student in September of this year, the training sessions proved to be extremely useful: ‘after following these trainings, I realized how many factors play a vital role in the construction and maintenance of a marine vessel. Painting and varnishing is not a simple task and it requires constant diligence and accuracy. The sessions were not only an eye opener, but they offered great insight and references for future purposes’. Upon completing the ‘Zero to Hero’ Program, Shaëeza hopes to finalize the course and obtain her local captains license to join the marine industry on Sint Maarten. The Kidz at Sea Foundation is extremely appreciative of this hands-on-training offered by Budget Marine to enhance the ‘Zero to Hero’ Program. This program was developed to help unemployed youth with little to no experience in the marine industry find a career path in the vibrant marine industry of St. Maarten. It was created in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricane season when youth employment sky-rocked; it is financed by various local and international sponsors, including the ‘Nationaal Rampenfonds’ and with the support of local companies such as Budget Marine.