City of Glasgow College is helping to set up a maritime training college in Angola, one of the world's poorest countries.
The college wants to aid the economic development of a country which was devastated by 27 years of civil war, by bringing the experience of decades of maritime expertise gained on the Clyde to West Africa.
It was approached by Angolan oil company Sonangol to help it develop a college to train its own seafarers. Staff from the Glasgow college have since been heavily involved in all aspects of the planning process, from design to equipment, and will be in charge of operational management at the college once it has opened.
A head of centre, as well as five lecturers, will be recruited by City of Glasgow College, and two members of staff from Glasgow will be seconded to Angola to help manage the college and do some teaching.
Richard Speight, vice-principal of City of Glasgow College, visited the site for the foundation stone-laying ceremony a couple of months ago, and said he had not been concerned about his safety. "I tend to feel quite safe in Angola; I find the Angolans very friendly people," he said.
The college is currently in the early stages of the building process and will eventually teach around 250 students. The college is scheduled to open formally in August 2012 and will be known as the Centro de Formacao Maritima de Angoloa; it is being built in partnership with Sonangol Shipping Angola, which is providing most of the funding, and the shipping company Stena Africa.
It will be based near the town of Sumbe, 270km south of the Angolan capital Luanda. Mr Speight said this was a conscious decision and an attempt by Sonangol to stimulate the local economy. Out of the 75 staff members the college will eventually require, only eight would be non- Angolans.
Mr Speight told TESS he was also in talks with representatives of three other countries, discussing options for co-operation.