According to the Australian Government, the PMTS program is expected to generate 24 new jobs in the region in addition to the more than 400 direct industry ship sustainment jobs currently in Cairns.
Under the initial five year, $36 million contract, TAFE Queensland will deliver vital maritime training to people from the Pacific Islands who will crew 21 Guardian Patrol Boats (GPBs), gifted by the Australian Government, under the Australian Defence Cooperation Program (DCP).
TAFE Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mary Campbell said the contract is incredibly important as it will not only create local jobs, but also has the potential to better the lives of Pacific Islanders.
“We are thrilled that TAFE Queensland has been selected by the Department of Defence as the training contractor for the Pacific Maritime Training Services program,” Mrs Campbell said.
“Today’s announcement is great recognition of our expert trainers and support staff who are so highly regarded in the maritime industry.
“The contract currently encompasses 19 training courses and the first students from the Pacific Islands are expected to begin training in Cairns in August 2021.
“The majority of training will be delivered at TAFE Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef International Marine College and students will learn valuable maritime skills including how to safely operate, manage and maintain Guardian Patrol Boats.
“Training will also take place at TAFE Queensland’s Cairns campus to help participants improve their cooking, computer skills, and leadership and management abilities,” she said.
TAFE Queensland has a strong track record for supporting education and employment opportunities in the Pacific region.
“Since 2007, TAFE Queensland has managed the contract for the Australian Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) and helped to provide quality training to help Pacific Islanders gain Australian-standard skills and qualifications for a wide range of vocational careers throughout the Pacific,” Mrs Campbell said.
“With the support of TAFE Queensland, the APTC has positively transformed the lives of over 13,500 Pacific women and men who are now making valuable contributions at their workplaces and to the communities where they live throughout the Pacific region.
“As PTMS program progresses, there may also be an opportunity to deliver training at some of the APTC campuses across Fiji, Samoa, PNG, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands – this means some students may be able to stay in their communities and undertake training which is incredibly exciting,” she said.
TAFE Queensland has more than 138 years of experience delivering quality vocational education and training and is uniquely positioned to support the PMTS program.
“TAFE Queensland has an excellent international reputation for the provision of high quality and culturally appropriate training and pastoral care services for students from Pacific Island countries,” Mrs Campbell said.
“We are passionate about providing access to learning which supports employment, and this program will positively influence the wellbeing, prosperity and security of the Pacific Island countries,” she said.
The Pacific Maritime Security Program is a key part of the Australian Defence Cooperation Program (DCP), aimed to bolster the maritime security of Pacific Island nations, helping to protect their maritime environment, resources and sovereignty.
As part of this program, the Australian Government is gifting 21 Guardian Patrol Boats (GPBs) to 12 Pacific Island Countries and Timor-Leste. The GPBs are replacing the existing Pacific Patrol Boats (PPB) that have been in-service since 1987.