Sea Swift – Trainee Profile

When George Dorante adds up the decade he’s worked for Sea Swift, a Cairns-based shipping company, he’s spent three years on land and seven years at sea. Dorante, 26, from Thursday Island (Waiben), is master of the Malu Chief, a six-crew, 42-metre, 270-tonne ship that hauls fuel and freight to the Torres Strait. His father had taken young George to sea in his work on a Sea Swift barge. “I liked the job, I liked the industry. It was fun,” Dorante says. “I loved the sea.” Dorante joined the company as a trainee out of school, progressing quickly to a coxswain’s ticket, then tickets for forklift, dogman and crane on coming of age. “All I was looking for was experience,” Dorante says. “I wanted to do everything. I wanted experience as a deckhand on a range of boats and Sea Swift has got that.” Every day you learn something different. Sea Swift sponsored his Certificate IV in Transport and Distribution (Coastal Maritime Operations), a national qualification developed by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC), to become a Master Class 4 ship captain. As Malu Chief’s captain, Dorante manages the ship: its crew, maintenance, route, schedules and customer service: “You’re a floating office, at the end of the day.” But when Dorante looks out his office window, he sees a different scene at each day’s end, steering the ship through the Torres’ tricky reefs and waters. Often the islands are too small to accommodate a dock, so Dorante drives the Malu Chief up a ramp or beach, dropping the huge cargo hold door to unload. “People say if...

Sea Swift

Sea Swift is Australia’s largest privately owned shipping company. In 25 years, the maritime enterprise has expanded from a seafood processing and distribution service to now deliver essential goods and services to remote communities in Australia’s northern waters. Sea Swift invests nearly $1.3 million in training annually with little external funding support, but the returns on its culture and credibility are priceless. Locally owned Sea Swift makes a significant contribution to the employment and skill development of local communities. In some locations 80 to 90% of the staff are local indigenous people. The Cairns-based marine distribution business delivers essential goods, services and people to dozens of remote communities in Australia’s northern waters, from Cape York Peninsula through the Torres Strait and on as far as Darwin. The award-winning company also delivers essential training to its 350 staff who work on 31 vessels and out of six main depots, some more than 1000 kilometres away, in roles as diverse as deckhand, warehousing, engineer, and ship captain. Sea Swift’s specialised and job specific training includes national qualifications developed by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC). The marine business won the Innovation and Excellence in Workforce Development Award – Maritime at the 2013 TLISC Awards for Excellence. “When we received notification of the inaugural Awards, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to showcase what we’ve been doing in training and development,” says Sea Swift’s human resources manager, Dan Erbacher. Erbacher says winning the TLISC award helped Sea Swift “crystallise the end goal” of continuing training and development and was a thrill for all company staff, seeing their hard work...

Laing O’Rourke – Trainee Profile

Not  that long ago, rail construction worker Corey Chulung was “unemployed, sitting at home, drinking, and smoking – a lot. It was becoming pretty much an every day routine.” Then an opportunity of a lifetime walked into his Port Hedland backyard. Laing O’Rourke indigenous relations manager Andrea White “was looking for my brother”. “When she walked through the back gate she noticed there were three of us. She went back to the car, came back with three applications and said, ‘Do you want a job?” So began Chulung’s journey, and that of his two younger brothers, Keith and Karl, on the ‘Making Tracks’ program with one of the world’s largest construction companies. Making Tracks is Laing O’Rourke’s 10-week course of work and life skills for rail project trainees, including a Certificate II in Transport and Logistics (Rail Infrastructure), a qualification developed by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council and afforded under the National Workforce Development Fund. Chulung’s West Australian crew is learning how to operate ballast tampers and regulators, stabilisers and loaders to prepare foundations for new track to increase the rail capacity between Port Hedland and mines to the north east, 30 kilometres away. Making Tracks is Laing O’Rourke’s 10-week course of work and life skills for rail project trainees, including a Certificate II in Transport and Logistics (Rail Infrastructure). “My family is over the moon about it, they’re so proud, you know,” Chulung says. “More money to contribute to the great family circle.” Family support is key to Making Tracks’ success, as well as that of an indigenous liaison officer in Port Hedland, Herbie Rose, who “motivates us...

Laing O’Rourke

Laing O’Rourke is in the business of providing local, national and international rail services. They are recognised globally for their ability to self-perform innovative, cost-effective rail solutions in track and civil infrastructure / rail systems / asset management and maintenance. West Australian construction and engineering company Laing O’Rourke can build many things: ports, wharves, roads, bridges and lately, better communities. 30 years young For the past 30 years, Laing O’Rourke has delivered rail infrastructure in rural, remote and urban locations, locally, nationally and internationally.  Laing O’Rourke operates in four Australian states. In WA, the majority of its work is in the Pilbara, making and maintaining railway tracks for BHP and FMG. The company wanted to minimise fly-in, flyout operations in the Port Hedland community and instead offer employment opportunities to local residents. “Our thinking was to give back to the community where we’ve been working for years,” says Laing O’Rourke indigenous relations manager, Andrea White. “Let’s make it sustainable, let’s up-skill the Pilbara people for work, especially indigenous people who don’t have the skills and are crying out for work.” Laing O’Rourke training and development manager Tony Sawiris went online to research funding and found the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council. And on the TLISC website, he found the National Workforce Development Fund, which supports training for qualifications and skill sets in priority areas of need. “I already had a plan around skilling an Indigenous workforce in the north west, so that supported my application,” Sawiris says. “TLISC was fantastic, because we came up with a (funding) model that suited the business.” Local people Where possible, Laing O’Rourke hires and trains local and indigenous rail workers to ensure the expertise and knowledge remains within the region and creates long-lasting...