Sunday, January 17, 2016

Awarded AMC Training Manager, Jarrod Weaving, explores similarities between Torres Strait and Canadian Arctic



Media Release

Monday, 11 January 2016

Maritime training challenges mirrored across globe

The tropical waters of the Torres Strait and the freezing Arctic region of northern Canada don’t appear to have a lot in common at first glance. Yet they are both home to indigenous populations whose culture and economic prosperity are closely linked to the marine environment and its fishing resources.

Australian Maritime College Vocational Education and Training Manager Jarrod Weaving spent four weeks on an international fellowship exploring the similarities of delivering maritime training to the indigenous people of the Torres Strait and the aboriginal communities of Canada.

The fellowship, offered through the Transport and Logistics Skills Council in partnership with the International Specialised Skills Institute, aims to bring back best practice and innovative approaches to benefit Australian industry.

Mr Weaving was struck by the common challenges experienced by his team of maritime trainers and their international counterparts in Canada.

“The same problems that we have here with our indigenous training with language, literacy and numeracy skills, and students who don’t feel comfortable in the classroom environment and prefer to do hands-on training, are exactly the same on the other side of the globe,” he said.

“There is a great demand for blended delivery training from these indigenous populations, who fish to support their lifestyle and cultural connections to the sea.”

Mr Weaving spent a week at the Marine Institute in Newfoundland looking at how they deliver their indigenous training programs before visiting the Miawpukek community of Conne River, where he met traditional Saqamaw Chief Misel Joe.

Since being established as a reserve in 1987, Miawpukek has gone from a poor, isolated community to a thriving fishing village with almost 100 per cent employment.

“Chief Joe was very proud to show me his community and how they’ve used their fishing rights to boost economic development in the area,” Mr Weaving said.

“He is hoping to come to Australia in February and look at what we’re doing. The other thing we’re really excited about is developing a student exchange program between the Torres Strait and Canada, which would allow the students to experience a new culture.”

From there, Mr Weaving travelled to Iqaluit on Baffin Island – a remote community just south of the Arctic Circle that has built a multi-million dollar fishing industry using 70-metre factory trawlers. The desolate environment proved an eye-opening experience.

“I thought the Island was remote but when I went to Baffin Island I couldn’t believe how remote it was. There’s nothing there, it’s a bit like the moon. It’s amazing how desolate it is – there’s no green, no grass, no flowers, nothing,” he said.

“The cold is the biggest challenge they face. Their fishing season runs for six months a year and then they travel south when the waters ice over.”

Mr Weaving found that the training delivered in Australia and Canada were of a similar standard, but he plans to put in place some additional pre-sea training so students are aware of what life at sea is like before they start work, after seeing the success of the program in Iqaluit.

Chief Joe and Jarrod Weaving - AMC Vocational Education and Training Manager Jarrod Weaving (right) meets traditional Saqamaw Chief Misel Joe during a visit to the Conne River.

Fast rescue boat training - Students from the Marine Institute conducting survival training. The students are dressed in survival suits ready to enter the cold Canadian waters.

Information released by:
Communications and Media Office, University of Tasmania
Phone: 61 3 6324 9874 or 0438 408 314


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