The marine industry might be Florida’s best kept secret when it comes to a career.
While South Florida is home to the largest concentration of highly skilled marine tradespeople in the world, there is concern this aging workforce won’t be easily replaced after retirement.
“Industry consensus is that our greatest need is trained personnel,” James Brewer, Business Development Director at Derecktor Dania, says. “Attracting young people to replace the aging workforce is challenging. We have been addressing this with apprentice and magnet programs, but it is a slow process.”
The Marine Industries Association of South Florida, the largest marine trade organization in the Southeast United States, has been leading the charge when it comes to workforce development. By partnering with shipyards like Derecktor Dania, MIASF has been able to attract younger people into the workforce through marine trade curriculums at Atlantic Technical College and Broward College.
These programs provide students with a solid foundation and open doors to on-the-job training opportunities. Such is the case for Erena Fridman, who recently joined Derecktor Dania and is currently enrolled in the MIASF Yacht Service Technician Apprenticeship program.
Erena possesses a business degree and a Master’s in education, but was looking for a career change. She enrolled in the Marine Egineering program at Broward College where she earned her associate degree, then found an opportunity with Derecktor.
“Don’t be afraid to change your career path,” Erena says. “There are millions of paths you can take and it’s never too late to carve out something new for yourself.”
Erena began carving her new path at Derecktor earlier this year where she spent her first six months obtaining hands-on training in the mechanic shop where she worked on engines and props. She’s since moved into the welding department where she’s expanding her technical skills and will soon spend another six months in Derecktor’s plumbing division.
“I’ve enjoyed learning about the mechanics of yachts and understanding the most practical ways to repair them,” Erena says. “My goal is to learn as much as I can about the marine industry and continue to grow my career with Derecktor.”
“Erena’s story is a fine example of the opportunities awaiting talented young people in the marine trades,” Brewer says. “As Derecktor continues its 50-plus-year tradition in Dania Beach and starts up its new Fort Pierce facility, the company looks forward to helping train these people and to their contributions to the industry.”
Founded in 1947, Derecktor Shipyards has since become a worldwide leader for excellence in the construction, repair and refit of yachts, commercial and military vessels. Today, four Derecktor facilities span the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. from Maine to South Florida, offering vessel owners and operators everything from marina space to megayacht construction. For more information about Derecktor Shipyards, visit www.derecktor.com, email email@example.com or call 772-595-9326.