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TAFE NSW Newcastle upskills Australian Border Force

TAFE NSW Newcastle

TAFE NSW Newcastle upskills Australian Border Force

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

In fact, students travel from as far as the Ukraine to study here.

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.

Australian Border Force is well aware of the quality of education. A handful of its locally-based marine unit officers have just begun studying here, across Maritime Studies and Marine Engineering.

TAFE NSW Newcastle Head Maritime Studies teacher Glenn Hunter, who spent 30 years in ships navigating Asia-Pacific, said, “Career seafarers travel from across the globe to our doorstep to earn specialised maritime certifications such as Master and Watchkeeper Deck.

“This includes law enforcement agency officers like those from the Australian Border Force - seafarers who are tasked with protecting Australia’s maritime domain.”

“TAFE NSW is well known globally for our high quality teachers, facilities and technology. That’s why students come from all over Australia and from countries as far flung as Ukraine and Pakistan to study here. More than 25 percent of the 2018 students were from nations other than Australia.

“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.”

Senior Australian Border Force Officer Scott Bickford is studying a Diploma of Maritime Operations (Master Up to 500 GT), a qualification that will upskill him to take command of larger vessels in the Border Force fleet.

“This qualification will allow me to take command of a Cape Class vessel or perform senior deck roles on the ABF’s largest patrol vessel, Ocean Shield. These assets play a critical role in the ABF’s capability to protect Australia’s borders by detecting and deterring civil maritime security threats,” Officer Bickford said.

“I am very much looking forward to having the skills and knowledge required to work on these bigger vessels.”

At the heart of the TAFE NSW qualification delivery is the maritime craft simulator, which uses interactive technology to provide training scenarios for masters, deck officers and engineering officers.

Its real-life contingency scenario planning via five wrap-around vision channels lets potential skippers of boats of all sizes practice extensively before they take to the seas in real life.

Mr Hunter emphasises that the fidelity of the simulator is vital to its ability to teach students, saying, “The simulator is so realistic someone without their sea legs can get sick while in the room.”

“The real-life contingency scenario planning we offer is an accurate representation of what you encounter when steering a ship in real-life.

“From the craft’s unique specifications, to the under and above water geography of ports around the world, to weather conditions and light at certain times of the day, plus unexpected emergencies and calls to change direction - it’s all there.”

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.