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Setting sail in a new career

TAFE NSW Port Macquarie

TAFE NSW Port Macquarie students studying a Certificate I in Maritime Operations (General Purpose Hand near Coastal) have climbed aboard the Coral Trekker today to use the 20 metre tall ship as a floating classroom while it is in Port Macquarie.

The Coral Trekker arrived at Lady Nelson Wharf on Friday and will be moored at the wharf until Sunday the 18th in honour of Port Macquarie’s Bicentenary. In a collaboration with Port Macquarie Hastings Council, TAFE NSW students will undertake practical work on the ship, learning to work as part of a crew, on deck and in the engine room on the 80-metre vessel.

The Maritime IRC Skills Forecast states that 75% of maritime employers are experiencing a skills shortage. This means domestic commercial vessel occupations - including general purpose hands are in demand.[i]

Port Macquarie local, Max Hillier is an artist who recently decided to enrol in the Certificate I in Maritime Operations (near coastal) after a boating accident sparked his desire to want to be better equipped when out on the water. After his barbeque boat collided with a ferry on its way to the North Shore, Mr Hillier was inspired to not only enrol in a TAFE NSW course to grow his skills, he is now a trainee volunteer in the Marine Rescue.

“Maritime is a really exciting industry to be learning about and the TAFE NSW teachers are very knowledgeable because they all have experience working in the maritime industry.

“TAFE NSW is offering us the epitome of hands-on learning, it is a great opportunity to be able to learn on board the Coral Trekker.”

TAFE NSW teacher Natalie Welsh said as part of the course, students will learn a wide range of basic skills such as; critical survival skills, how to fight fires on board a vessel, nautical terminology, how to operate inboard and outboard motors, environmental work practices to protect our waters in addition to transferrable skills for example how to work effectively as part of a crew.

“Demand for skilled maritime professionals isn’t going anywhere, ten per cent of the world’s sea trade passes through Australian ports and over 95% of Australian exports are transported by sea.

“Students have the option to find employment in the industry upon completion of this course or pathway to further study and work their way up in the industry. Many students also pursue the course because they have an interest in the industry and would like to have a better understanding of the basics.”

For more information about TAFE NSW courses, please visit or call 131 601.

Media contact: Sarah Lievore, TAFE NSW Media and Communications Specialist,