A new traineeship program has been launched in Cairns to help SchoolTech students follow in the footsteps of their elders and look after country.
Twelve students are gaining hands-on maritime skills through the Junior Indigenous Marine and Environmental (JIME) Program.
The JIME Program is the brainchild of former cricketer Matthew Hayden AM and philanthropist Guy Reynolds AO through the Hayden/Reynolds Foundation, in partnership with Shimano, Macquarie Bank, Austral Fisheries and OZFish.
Head of SchoolTech Carmel Iivonen said the traineeships are an amazing opportunity for the Year 11 and 12 students to kick-start their careers.
“Culturally, the students have strong connections to land and sea and they are all very passionate about pursuing maritime careers and being custodians of the environment,” Ms Iivonen said.
“As part of the JIME Program, our students will earn while they learn, spending one to two days a week working aboard vessels operated by Experience Co.
“For the remainder of the school week, the students will complete their senior schooling to achieve their Queensland Certificate of Education, and they will also study two certificate qualifications delivered by TAFE Queensland at the Great Barrier Reef International Marine College,” she said.
Year 11 student Jasmine Uhr is connected to Papua New Guinea and the Tiwi Island mob and she said that she feels at home out on the sea.
“School wasn’t something I really enjoyed before, but coming to SchoolTech at TAFE Queensland and joining this program has really opened my eyes and made me realise the things that I can do with my future,” Miss Uhr said.
“Through this traineeship, I’ll gain my coxswains licence which is really exciting because it will put me one step closer to one day becoming a skipper,” she said.
Fellow classmate Waylan Satrick’s people are from Yam Island in the Torres Strait and he said that he has loved boating and fishing for as long as he can remember.
“I wanted to join this program so I could gain the skills to start my own crabbing and fishing business, and then hopefully one day have my own reef fishing charter business,” Mr Satrick said.
“This program has already taught me a lot of things that I would never have even thought about before; I’m learning engineering skills, how to fix engines and how to communicate with people – it’s not just about getting out on a boat,” he said.