More local women are being encouraged to get a foot in the door of the booming aquaculture and maritime industries in Tasmania. Seafood and Maritime Training (SMT) has awarded inaugural ‘Women on the Water’ scholarships to five young women who are keen to advance their careers in the industry.

Demand for skilled workers in the Tasmanian seafood and marine tourism industries is running at an all-time high. This demand is being driven mainly by growth in salmonid farming and tourism like Mona Roma and Pennicott’s Wilderness JourneysWhilst significant numbers of women are employed in these industries, they remain a minority in marine operations.

SMT CEO, Rory Byrne, said he was blown away by the number of applicants for the scholarship, which is being run in conjunction with Tassal and Huon Aquaculture. “Jobs in the aquaculture and maritime industries are varied, interesting, and offer real opportunities for career progression. Women are still largely under-represented in the traditionally male-based industry, but times are changing with SMT seeing more and more enrolments and enquiries from women.

“This scholarship recognises the important contribution that women make within our industry. We want to do our part to encourage women to seek career pathways within the Seafood and Maritime industries and to go on to become leaders in their field.

“As in all industries, equal gender representation will only stand to benefit the Tasmanian aquaculture and maritime industries. We’re hoping that this scholarship can raise some awareness of the opportunities out there and encourage more women to consider these industries as a career option”, Mr. Byrne said.

The scholarship provides the recipients with training courses free of charge, as well as on-the-job work experience with Huon Aquaculture and TASSAL. Four of the scholarship winners will be trained for the Certificate I in Maritime Operations Coxswain Grade 2 Near Coastal, the basic license to operate commercially on the water.

One of the winners is Jessica Kube who completed a Bachelor of Marine and Antarctic Science last year. Needing a Coxswain Certificate, Jessica saw the scholarship as a perfect opportunity. “Once you start gaining skills and qualifications you can move into so many areas of work. I’m excited to see where it could possibly take me. I would love to travel to Antarctica.”

Megan Stredwick

Through the scholarship, another winner, Megan Stredwick (pictured left), is aiming to achieve Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Master up to 24 metres Near Coastal). Megan has marine tourism experience in New Zealand, Western Australia and Tasmania, most recently on the Navigators Maria Island Ferry. She came back to Tasmania with a real enthusiasm to learn more and become a skipper. Megan would like to see more women deckhands and in senior roles in the industry.

The other scholarship winners are Helen Casey, Jaimie Noye (pictured right) and Samantha Stevenson. Jaimie Noyce

Listen to the radio interview with Rory, Megan and Jessica from 13.40m – 25.40m on the ABC’s Tas Country Hour.

SMT is a not-for-profit registered training organisation managed by a board whose members represent the sectors of the Tasmanian seafood and maritime industries. It was established in 1986 by the Tasmanian seafood industry as the Fishing Industry Training Board of Tasmania. It later became Seafood Training Tasmania trading as Seafood and Maritime Training.

Traineeship numbers over the past few months have increased significantly with the majority being taken up by the salmon industry. Further increases are predicted over the coming year as the industry continues to go from strength to strength.

Article courtesy of Australian Industry Standards