Blogs (Media Centre)


TAFE NSW Newcastle

With Australia relying on sea transport for 99% of exports1 and Newcastle being the world's largest coal export port, it makes sense that TAFE NSW Newcastle offers a wide range of maritime courses.

A former Web Manager is well on her way to becoming a fully qualified Chief Mate with the skills required to safely manage and operate any type of merchant ship thanks to TAFE NSW.

Helena de Carlos is studying a Bachelor of Applied Science (Nautical Science) after starting her career as the Web Manager at Greenpeace, where she was given the opportunity to join a ship to Papua New Guinea to advocate for Forest Action.

After a taste of life on the water Helena took some time off and hitchhiked around on boats in the Caribbean to get some seafaring experience.

“I volunteered as a Deckhand at Greenpeace and decided a life at sea is what I love so I’m now working towards a qualification as Chief Mate.

“Working on ships is an adventure, I have been able to tick off everything on my bucket list. Some of my favorites have been the Arctic Circle, Antarctica, the Amazon and Rio. I’d encourage anyone who has an interest in maritime to start with a Certificate I in Maritime Operations at TAFE NSW and I guarantee they’ll be hooked.”

TAFE NSW Newcastle Head Maritime Studies teacher Carmen Blanco, who has spent 30 years at sea and ashore in the Australian Maritime Industry, said career seafarers travel from across the globe to our doorstep to earn specialised maritime certifications such as Chief Mate, Master and Watchkeeper Deck.

“Many don’t realise TAFE NSW Newcastle is the only East Coast provider of the world’s highest seafarer qualification. The training students receive locally is recognised internationally as best-in-class. TAFE NSW is well known globally for our high quality teachers, facilities and technology,” said Captain Blanco.

“Our maritime studies qualifications, offered in partnership with the University of Tasmania, are recognised internationally and enjoy a solid reputation for authenticity. This is something several other countries cannot attest to; many seafarers find their qualifications aren’t recognised outside their own country so they need to become certified elsewhere.”

Australia’s largest training provider, TAFE NSW offers over 1200 courses, from certificates to degrees. Many can be studied online via TAFE Digital, when and where it suits. Visit or call 131 601. 


Media contact: Sarah Lievore, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist