TAFE NSW is playing a crucial role to meet the demand for maritime workers, as the Federal Government commits to improving future maritime capability, with an Australian owned and crewed strategic fleet.
The Federal Government recently committed to delivering a Strategic Fleet of up to 12 vessels, to help Australia build resilience to freight disruptions, while supporting the maritime workforce and sovereign capability.
Australia is the fifth largest user of shipping services in the world - relying on sea transport for 99 per cent of exports. With a shortage of Australian flagged ships and high demand for skilled workers - the government says the Strategic Fleet would be relied on in times of national crisis and emergency, helping get vital goods to affected regions and making us less reliant on international shipping.
TAFE NSW is addressing the maritime skills shortage by training a pipeline of future maritime workers, with Maritime courses offered from entry level to Advanced Diploma. TAFE NSW Director of Supply Chain and eCommerce Chris Greentree says the investment will drive higher skills demand across a range of maritime and supply chain jobs.
"We know that Port Botany is an important gateway for trade bringing in over 2.5 million containers, with over 1600 commercial vessels docking each year," he said.
"There are a wide range of job roles from deckhands, marine mechanics and engineers to logistic and warehousing coordinators that keep this critical supply chain moving.
"In the area around Port Botany, marine transport professionals grew by 34 per cent in the last 12 months. At TAFE NSW, people can get ahead of the jobs boom and kick start their maritime career choosing from a range of accredited courses providing in-demand skills and industry licensing to get ahead."
CEO of Maritime Industry Australia Ltd Angela Gillham was a member of the taskforce. She said the report identified the shortage of diverse maritime workers as a concern for Australia's economic sovereignty.
"Australia's maritime training institutions will play a crucial role in skilling the workforce we need to capitalise on the expanding and diversifying activity in this sector," she said. "The pipeline of maritime workers they are building is crucial to the success of this Strategic Fleet - and the Australian shipping industry."
"The gradual decline in our sovereign fleet over the past two decades means Australia is almost entirely reliant on foreign shipping. Recent supply chain shocks, natural disasters, and the critical maritime skills shortage have all demonstrated the need for the increased national resilience that an enhanced sovereign shipping industry will bring. Australia is a Maritime Nation, but without urgent action to promote a strong sovereign merchant maritime capability, we are not able to capitalise on the natural advantages that this brings."
Commodore Kit Rynd FNI is the Chairperson of the Nautical Institute South East Australia Branch, and says the strategic fleet initiative is a vital investment in Australia's economic prosperity.
"A maritime nation like Australia needs a vibrant merchant marine backbone, and the Strategic Fleet initiative provides a catalyst for the future of maritime skills in Australia," he said.
"Our island home and our entire region is dependent on seaborne trade. The pandemic, natural disasters and international tensions have amplified the need for maritime self-sufficiency to keep our inward and outbound trade protected from disruption. The specialist labour requirements of modern ships warrants investment, and provides a strong, long-term sovereign skillset which is vital to the future of our import and export economies."
TAFE NSW St George is a major campus for supply chain training. Expanding more workers in supply chain and logistics roles will be pivotal to maximising the effectiveness of the new fleet, TAFE NSW stated.
St George campus offers courses from Certificate III up to Advanced Diploma in areas like Supply Chain Operations and International Freight Forwarding in a dedicated training facility. It's an ideal choice for anyone wanting to start or grow their career in the industry and contribute to keeping the imports and exports coming through Port Botany moving.
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