Arakel Hamamdjian, of Menai, was working as a waiter on a Sydney showboat when he decided he wanted to become the captain of his own ship.
After completing certificates II, III and IV in maritime operations at TAFE NSW Ultimo, he has launched his own charter vessel business, Magic Cruises, which offers group Sydney Harbour voyages for special events and celebrations.
Mr Hamamdjian said he fell into the maritime industry after taking a job as a waiter on showboat cruises when he was 21.
He worked his way up to become a cruise director before deciding to purchase his own vessel.
"I decided to purchase the charter vessel Magic in 2015. It was something I had wanted to do for many years and when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped on it," he said.
He went on to complete a number of TAFE courses, and hasn't ruled out adding further qualifications in the future.
TAFE NSW maritime operations and marine engineering experts deliver a wide range of marine qualifications in state-of-the-art facilities across NSW and online via TAFE Digital, a TAFE NSW spokeswoman said.
Students can advance their practical skills both out on the water and using the latest, high-quality simulated training equipment.
And with the maritime sector having an estimated annual revenue of $5.76 billion, it is a great career choice, according to TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Maritime Operations, Mario Murzello.
"Charter vessels have continued to operate during the COVID-19 crisis and a maritime career has good long-term job prospects," he said.
"As the pandemic eases, there will be more opportunities for maritime businesses, so now is the perfect time to commence training at TAFE NSW to get into the industry."
Mr Hamamdjian said the high quality of training and incredible facilities available at TAFE NSW kept him coming back to continue to grow his qualifications.
"The TAFE NSW marine equipment is the same as you would expect on any large ship. I have enjoyed the opportunity to learn about and use the incredible electronic equipment and marine simulator," he said.
Enrolments are now open for the second semester.
To learn more about the range of maritime courses at TAFE NSW phone 131 601 or click here.