A small select group of Durack Institute of Technology students recently celebrated the successful completion of their unique ‘Participation and Engagement Course’ with community members, Durack Staff, family and friends at a special ceremony held at Batavia Coast Maritime Institute (BCMI).
The objective of the course was to re-engage youth aged between 15 to 17 years of age in training. The course was designed to capture and maintain the interest of the students through activities focused around the marine and eco-tourism areas, whilst simultaneously providing them with key skills required to gain employment in a range of marine industry sectors.
BCMI’s Director, Dr Suresh Job explained that the course coordinators had designed the training to be as ‘hands-on’ as possible, with a focus on learning by doing. Much of the training was scheduled outdoors, including on Durack’s 20m marine training vessel - the Master Class, and subsequently on scheduled trips to the Abrolhos Islands (about 50 km off the West Australian coast).
“The course involved learning skills and behaviours that are highly valued by employers in the marine and eco-tourism industry sectors,” Dr Job said. “These included how to survive at sea in an emergency, how to skipper a recreational marine vessel, develop interpersonal and communication skills as well as teamwork skills".
Course participants were selected from a variety of different suburbs in Geraldton with two students attending from as far as Northampton. Students engaged in high energy activities during the 11 week course such as commercial fishing, learning basic first aid, abseiling, snorkeling, surfing, bush walking, orienteering and bike maintenance.
A key part of the course involved the students spending time with mentors and positive role models to develop skills to enhance education and employment opportunities.
Spending time at the Abrolhos Islands also exposed students to the full experience of working in marine and eco-tourism based industries whilst providing them with a realistic perspective on the types of jobs that are available and what is required to keep those jobs.
By completing the course, students gained additional experience in leadership skills, reliability, capacity to take responsibility, punctuality and the capacity to work with others”.
Durack invited local organisations and community members to build their connection with the program by sponsoring an individual student for additional equipment and resources such as their enrolment fees, providing nutritious meals, and access to other activities such as mountain bike riding and bike maintenance.
Sponsors had the opportunity to meet the students at the special ceremony last week, and also be recognised for their valuable contribution by Durack’s Director for Training, Jo Payne. “Recognising the sponsors with a certificate of appreciation was just the beginning of how the local community can become engaged with Durack’s training programs that ultimately lead to the next generation in the workforce,” Jo Payne said.
Councillor Bob Hall attended of behalf of the Mayor of the City of Greater Geraldton to present each student with a basic fishing kit, their new tools for their trade.