Indigenous students take first steps towards career in marine industry

3 September 2021

A group of Indigenous students have taken their first steps towards a career in the marine industry when they visited Sea Swift’s Cairns operations today (Friday 3 September) as part of a new partnership with AFL Cape York House.

Around 20 Year 11 and Year 12 boys and girls from AFL Cape York House toured the facilities of Northern Australia’s biggest shipping company.

The visit, organised in conjunction with North Marine, is part of a reinvigoration of Sea Swift’s highly-successful marine cadetship program, which recruits young trainees into the company.

Sea Swift Chief Executive Officer Dr Rochelle Macdonald said the company was delighted to invite AFL Cape York House to tour its facilities, and highlights the importance it places on investing in future generations, including young Indigenous people.

“We’re really pleased to be able to partner with AFL Cape York House and provide its students with an insight into a possible career with Sea Swift,” she said.

“Our cadetship program is our way of giving young local people a head start with on-the-job experience and formal training.

“It has always made perfect sense to Sea Swift to appoint locally where we can, and one of our aims is to provide long-term job opportunities to local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

AFL Cape York House Careers and Transitions Officer Peter Cushway said the organisation’s Careers and Transitions Program focuses not only on post-schooling career pathways, but also provides the tools and knowledge required to transition into working life.

“We have a great base of local businesses that are supportive of offering our students both work experience and casual employment opportunities,” he said.

“We also encourage and assist our young people to upskill and make themselves more employable through licences (car and marine), White Cards, Blue Cards, First Aid and other qualifications.

“By providing opportunities for our young people to visit businesses and industries, we hope to open up new pathway options and allow our young people to investigate the industry and look at the potential opportunity of the environment.

“We are continually looking to build positive relationships with key industries and organisations like Sea Swift, who are culturally appropriate for our young people given the connection to community through Cape York and the Torres Strait.”

The tour is the brainchild of North Marine Director Courtney Hansen, who helped connect Sea Swift and AFL Cape York House to provide the opportunity to students.

Ms Hansen was the first ever female to join Sea Swift’s cadetship program, was named Cadet of the Year in 2013, and created history in 2015 after being appointed Sea Swift’s first permanent female captain.

“I know from my time as a cadet and then captain at Sea Swift that it set me up for a career in the marine industry and helped get me to where I am today,” she said.

“I think this is a great opportunity for young First Nations people who might be finishing school to explore a possible career on the water.”