GB partnership hopes to foster cutting-edge careers in green and blue economies

Grand Bahama-based Blue Action Lab (BAL) is teaming up with the University of The Bahamas (UB) to help develop the “abundance of cutting-edge career opportunities” that are available in countries most vulnerable to climate change, a statement from BAL explained.

The blue tech accelerator contends that this educational and training partnership will unlock new career opportunities, while also building the resilience that could protect The Bahamas from the devastating effects of climate change.

According to BAL, the partnership will “empower and equip young Bahamians with the skills needed to thrive in the emerging green and blue economies, while at the same time helping secure a bright future for the country – both environmentally and economically”.

Founder and President of BAL Rupert Hayward said in the statement that building resilience to climate change is one of the most challenging obstacles this country currently faces.

“The climate crisis is already hitting small island nations first and hardest, as we recognize only too well on this third anniversary of the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian,” said Hayward.

“At the same time, an abundance of cutting-edge career opportunities aimed at helping coastal communities defend against climate threats are just waiting to be claimed.

“This partnership will allow Bahamians to take full advantage of a virtually untapped reservoir of employment possibilities.

“We want to create a whole new cadre of skilled local professionals and place them at the forefront of an emerging new sector that is likely to become one of the most important economic engines of the global economy in coming decades.

“This will not just accelerate the climate solutions that The Bahamas needs most; it will also establish the country as global leader in this sphere.”

He said the partnership will spur rewarding careers in areas such as mangrove and reef restoration, and the fishing and diving industries, which he explained all help to mitigate the impact of hurricanes.

According to the statement, the memorandum of understanding (MOU) establishes UB’s northern campus in Grand Bahama as a hub for training and mentorship of environmental and marine scientists, an innovative research center for pioneering green solutions for the green and blue economies, and developing new models for building resilient ecosystems and communities.

BAL said it expects its projects to attract international investment as well as attract “the best of the best” people from around the world to contribute to its initiatives.

“Hayward applauded UB for its vision and commitment to training ‘the workforce of the future’ as part of the institution’s mission to drive national development, foster a culture of research and innovation and encourage service to community,” the statement said.

It added, “In turn, UB students will be able to gain invaluable training and experience, participating in BAL’s many ongoing entrepreneurial and conservation projects, for example its partnership with Earthshot Prize-winning Coral Vita to undertake large-scale reef restoration, using methods developed at the top marine institutes around the world.”

UB North Campus President Ian Strachan said in the statement that the university has to play its role in fostering the research and provides the tools needed to help Bahamians preserve their way of life.

“A key to our field station becoming a center of research and instructional excellence is forging partnerships like this one,” said Strachan.

“Blue Action Lab is on the cutting edge of sustainable innovation and this is an area where The Bahamas can become a world leader. Climate action is a global imperative.”

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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