A Try a Trade Careers Expo in Victoria has shown more than 3,000 secondary school students the range of career possibilities in the marine industry.
Mercury Marine worked in collaboration with the Boating Industry Association of Victoria (BIAV) and other marine industry companies to present the Boating Industry Hub at the South East Careers Expo held at Cranbourne Racecourse in late April.
The hub promoted the marine industry as a career path for Victorian students in years 10-12 and demonstrated the array of potential opportunities for apprenticeships and career development.
“This was an exciting experience for us and very confidence-building for the future of the marine industry,” Mercury’s Merctech/Training Manager Trevor Henri said.
“Any time an opportunity arises for the company to get involved in this kind of career expo we’re eager to get onboard. It’s all part of our ongoing commitment to strengthening and building the future of the marine industry.”
To combat this, BIAV has created a strategic plan to enhance education and industry skills that works in collaboration with industry members.
“Skill shortages are one of the biggest challenges facing our industry… It will be important to build awareness and promote the many and varied roles and lifestyles that can be played out through a marine related career,” BIAV wrote in their 2021-23 strategic plan.
The marine industry is relying on apprenticeships in the marine mechanic, trimming and boat building sector to prepare for anticipated demand.
“We have a program called Mercury Academy that has partnered with Head Start to find students who could be interested in completing an apprenticeship with us,” Henri said.
“We sponsor the students by paying their first-year fees for the Certificate III in Marine Mechanical Technology. We also supply them with PPE and uniforms to ensure they’re ready to learn on the job.
“What’s particularly exciting about these expos is being able to engage with students who hadn’t thought of working in the marine industry before. We get to speak to people who were maybe aspiring to be automotive mechanics, but also love boating, fishing and skiing.
“I love being able to spark a new interest or passion in these students. Often they come to realise that part of the enjoyment of marine mechanics is being out on the water for testing and getting to enjoy the outdoors element of the job rather than being stuck in a workshop all day.”
“We feel confident that this one expo alone roused 10 genuinely interested students,” Henri said.
“Engaging students in these programs is the future of the marine industry. By doing this, we can help prepare the industry to meet the demand for skills that we expect to see in the coming years.”