Friday, November 10, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
It has been a whirlwind of a year for 24 Whitsunday youth, who are now on the cusp of finishing their year-long specially tailored Coxswain course, offered through Red Cat Adventures, Queensland Government’s Vocational Education and Training in Schools (VETiS) program, Whitsunday Maritime Training Centre (WMTC) and Whitsunday Sailing Club.
About to undertake their final examinations of the course, the cohort of 25 Airlie Beach and Proserpine youth are eager to receive their qualifications and get out on the water, with some already accepting positions with Red Cat Adventures.
It was last year that Asher Telford of Red Cat Adventures realised the lack of local youth maritime training and decided to help.
“Coming out of COVID, we were very short staffed across the industry, and because of COVID a lot of our local kids went into tourism, the mines, and other unaffected industries,” he explained.
“So, I wanted to put together a training for kids. These kids know the area, have often grown up around boats and the water. And for me, it has been a very emotionally rewarding experience.”
Terrance Smith from Whitsunday Sailing Club believes that this experience is amazing for students.
“This opportunity is amazing, especially when these kids will leave school with well-paying jobs. And it’s not just tourism, but oil and gas, marine parks, super yachts.”
Year 11 Proserpine State High School student, Jasmine Gerlofsma was excited to take part in the program.
“I feel really privileged to be a part pf this opportunity. It’s very awesome that it’s being offered through school. I’ve always wanted to work on boats and just having your Coxswains opens so many doors.”
The youth Coxswains trainees, completing the inaugural cohort with Red Cat Adventures, Whitsunday Maritime Training Centre and Whitsunday Sailing Club. Photo Credit: Bronte Hodge