by Jeni Bone
On the Friday of the 2011 Sydney International Boat Show, the Boating Industry of Australia of NSW (BIA) and TAFE NSW signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), forming a collaborative partnership to strengthen the sustainability of the industry through skills development; support of employers through the availability of job-ready candidates; defining of clearer career pathways; and increased access to training and skills recognition options.
The future of the marine industry relies on informed, well trained, motivated young people.
Members of the BIA employ between 6,000 and 9,000 workers at anytime in NSW and the sector is experiencing skills shortages across a range of trade, technical, and service-focussed fields The implementation of joint projects and defined career pathways are central to the partnership.
'One of the primary objectives is to raise awareness of the full extent of opportunities that exist in what is an exciting and diverse sector,' said BIA General Manager Roy Privett. 'For example, using the TVET pathway, secondary school students can start TAFE NSW marine studies while still at school. Studying a TVET course can contribute marks towards a student’s school results AND set them on the path to a TAFE NSW marine qualification.
'For those planning to enter the marine industry fresh out of school, the benefit of a head-start through TVET is obvious.'
This strategic alliance will also seek to provide improved options for workers with existing practical skills.
People already employed in the industry who have developed specific skills through practical application, are eligible to apply for recognition at TAFE NSW. Simply put, a TAFE NSW trainer can conduct an assessment of the individual’s work experience, career history and any previous study to identify skills which may gain full or part credit towards a TAFE NSW qualification.
If an assessment identifies skills gaps, additional workplace training or TAFE NSW study are some of the options available.
'Our sector has many highly skilled employees whose experience is valued by employers, and new skills and skilled people are always in demand, said Mr Privett. 'Our alliance with TAFE is all about improving pathways, for those entering the industry, and for those within the industry seeking to grow. We see this initiative as delivering real value to boating industry personnel, and the host of employers in the sector.'
Experts from BIA and TAFE NSW, as well as representatives from the secondary schools Marine Teachers Association attended this year’s Sydney International Boat Show, exhibiting and speaking at the Boating Industry Careers Day organised by BIA NSW.
Other industry proponents who took to the stage to inspire and illuminate the 318 students and their careers advisers were: Corrina McMillan, Stephen Milne, Riviera Boats, Sarah Hardy, TAFE NSW, Ken Evans, Dave Jeffries from Captain Cook Cruises, Chris Brown from Superyacht Crew Academy, Nick Wennerbom from Australian Business Limited Apprenticeships Centre and Jeni Bone, journalist and editor of MarineBusiness-World.com.
More at tafensw.edu.au