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...

Vellex – Trainee Profile

A transport and logistics career helps keep Cornel Ene happy at work and at home. Ene is the plant logistics supervisor for distribution company Vellex, which specialises in bulk freighting potted vegetation to retail nurseries using custom cages and pallets. Ene was promoted to supervisor when he completed a Certificate III in Warehousing Operations, a qualification developed by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council and delivered under the National Workforce Development Fund initiative. The national qualification gave Ene, who migrated to Australia eight years ago for its “weather and security”, both industry advancement and personal fulfillment. Ene had studied economics in his native Romania and worked in warehousing in sales administration. But in Sydney he worked in restaurants, rising to become an a la carte head chef, until split shifts and weekend work started to take a toll on his young family. So, two years ago he decided to “change everything,” Ene says. “I have a daughter – she’s nearly three years old – and I want to be at home Saturday, Sunday, with my daughter.” Friends recommended he consider returning to warehousing work in the transport and logistics sector. He did, and it delivered a new life through training and development. When everything is going right in the warehouse and everybody is happy – that is the best part. Ene’s mornings are dedicated to plant dispatch, while afternoons are for receiving the next day’s stock to be delivered to nurseries across New South Wales and Victoria. It’s his responsibility to ensure the Vellex drivers safely deliver the plants to the right place, at the right time, in...

Brookfield Rail – Trainee Profile

Signal Inspector Shane Attwood’s upgraded training and assessment qualification through the National Workforce Development Fund is “giving back” to his employer and his bushfire brigade. Attwood, firstly an electrician by trade, joined West Australian infrastructure group Brookfield Rail as a trainee signal technician five years ago, and was promoted to signal inspector last year. He held a Fire and Emergency Services department TAA certificate as a volunteer trainer of Bush Fire Service volunteers, just outside Perth where he lives with his wife, son, and “lots of animals”. Brookfield Rail then secured a round of training under the NWDF, assisted by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council, so Attwood upgraded his qualification to a TAE Certificate IV. The upgrade “allows us to deliver and assess employees’ training, and develop courses and assessment tools. It gives us a wider role than what we had under the TAA qualification,” he says. As a signal inspector, Attwood ensures the technicians’ maintenance on the network’s signals, crossings, points and switches is “up to standard” for rail safety as well as reliable freight and passenger services, both of which have been predicted to double between 2011 and 2016. Developing internal expertise shores up the company’s future. People like Shane are the experts, so they are the best people for us to use. Inspecting accounts for about two-thirds of his time, while training and assessing take a third, butAttwood says there is a high crossover between the two roles in the time and skill set on the job. “Training is out in the field each day, giving instruction and allowing an apprentice to learn new...

Qube Ports & Bulk – Trainee Profile

If it wasn’t for twist of fate on the football field, Michael Barry may never have found his vocation as a stevedore in his coastal hometown of Portland, Victoria. The town’s bay is the only deep-sea port between Adelaide and Melbourne, and its maritime industries handle 5,387,411 tons of imports and exports annually. Barry, who works for Qube Ports & Bulk, drives cranes, forklifts and the transfer hopper to load and unload commodities such as logs and fertilizer. He also loads and unloads trucks as a wharf hand when shipments of ingots or livestock arrive and lays dunnage to help ensure cargo isn’t damaged during transportation. He can turn his hand to any of these tasks because he’s one of 290 stevedores Qube has up-skilled with a Certificate III in Transport and Logistics (Stevedoring), a qualification developed by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council and afforded under the National Workforce Development Fund. “I wasn’t really expecting to get a certificate that would be Australia-wide, for all the ports,” Barry says. “It sort of surprised me when I found out that I have a qualification and that I could go to all the ports in Australia.” Barry’s enthusiasm coupled with Qube’s focus on training and development will eventually see him upskilled to operate a gantry crane which, in-turn, will broaden the scope of his employment. Now 24, Barry had originally chosen a “normal job” on leaving high school, as a sheet metal apprentice, with little awareness of transport and logistics careers. Being qualified can open doors for career progression to any Provet warehouse in Australia and New Zealand. But after...

Provet – Trainee Profile

From boardroom to box room, Chris Boyes exemplifies how it’s never too late to transition to a work / life balance. An accountant by profession, the Newcastle native worked his way up the ranks to CEO after a career running RSL, golf and bowling clubs. Faced with ever-increasing pressure and round-the-clock responsibilities, as well as commitments in support of his “sports-mad” son, Boyes left the club industry in 2009. He started work as a picker, packer and delivery driver of 12,500 pharmaceutical, nutritional and merchandising products for Australasian veterinary distributor Provet, since acquired by the Henry Schein global business. Call it itchy feet, but after a year, Boyes took a temporary assignment at a local golf club. Provet kept in touch, and he returned to their Cameron Park warehouse. “They said, ‘Do what you want to do’, and I said, ‘Well, great!’ I named my own hours.” As a goods inwards storeman, Boyes works autonomously to unpack, check, count and book incoming orders into the stock control system, and report discrepancies. “Basically, in the warehouse I have done the whole circuit,” says Boyes. “I tell the boys, ‘Look at me as a mentor and role model’,” he jokes – but is serious about his “good work ethic” and how his responsibilities serve the business. Being qualified can open doors for career progression to any Provet warehouse in Australia and New Zealand. Being well-organised and diligent is essential: “You’ve got to be on top of it. If I don’t check the dates and there is older stock going on the shelf, it affects the pickers, it affects customer service,” he says...