Sponsored courses and scholarships at Challenger Institute of Technology have presented maritime students with a unique opportunity to gain rewarding careers.
Scholarships enabling students to conduct their studies at Challenger's world-class maritime training centre have been delivered in partnership with industry sponsor the Gorgon Project.
Upon completion of their Certificate III in Transport and Distribution (Integrated Ratings) studies, students will be positioned to attain employment working on domestic and international projects.
Another breakthrough program has successfully introduced Aboriginal students to careers in the maritime sector.
Seven indigenous students from Geraldton, Broome and Mt Barker were among 20 students to complete the 15-week integrated ratings course, one of the four courses run this year which is a stepping stone to a career at sea.
All of the indigenous students have been sponsored and having completed the course, will now move on to fulfilling the requisite 18 months of sea-time that will enable them to receive their certificate of competency from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
Students taking part in the course study and learn their craft at Challenger's Henderson and Fremantle campuses. Some of the skills taught include deck duties, first aid, welding, cargo operations, rope work, mathematics and safety training.
For Russell Dalgety, of Geraldton, the course represented an opportunity to pursue an exciting career that could, with further study, culminate in being the master of a large vessel.
"Studying at Challenger has been rewarding and the sacrifices taken to participate in the course have been worth the effort," Russell said.
"It's changed my life and both from a career point of view and through the people I've met and learnt from during the course."
Gorgon gives a hand
Challenger Institute's maritime director Nihar Rai said the Gorgon Project scholarships will target new entrants into the industry.
"Challenger's partnership with the Gorgon Project has led to these scholarships that will assist students undertaking a demanding course to focus on their studies," Mr Rai said.
"These scholarships will provide a substantial boost to maritime training in Western Australia. The flow on effect is that they will help the WA maritime industry address key skills shortage areas."
Since the partnership commenced in 2011, a total of 58 students have received scholarships. Within this group is 36 integrated ratings (IR) as well as six engineer cadets, 11 deck watchkeepers and five engine watchkeepers.
The IR course is an entry-level qualification to equip new entrants into the maritime industry with practical skills and knowledge in general shipboard operations of merchant ships. Since obtaining the scholarships many of the graduates have gone on to work in the Industry for companies such as Teekay Shipping, Svitzer, Swire Shipping, Tidewater Marine Services and ASP Ship Management.
For Mischell Hodgson, of East Fremantle, the scholarship eased her financial burden and allowed her to complete a Diploma in Transport and Distribution (Deck Watchkeeper).
"I have now secured a senior officer role with Toll Marine Logistics thanks to my higher qualifications. Initiatives such as this scholarship are integral to safe shipping and cleaner seas," Mischell said.
The School of Maritime Studies consists of extensive training facilities, including simulators, a fleet of eight vessels, engineering, seamanship and aquaculture workshops, and biological and computing laboratories.
PHOTO CAPTION: Undertaking the integrated ratings maritime training at Challenger were Russell Dalgety (L), of Geraldton, and Jonathan Mingramm (R), of Mosman Park.