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Award-winning Indigenous employment program sees latest graduates chart course for Sydney’s waterways

5 minute read

12 Indigenous people from across Sydney are today charting new career paths on the city’s waterways, following a maritime training graduation ceremony aboard the Mari Nawi at Circular Quay on Friday.

The influx of trained and job-ready candidates into Sydney’s maritime sector is the result of an award-winning training and employment program run by employment services provider, Asuria, Babana Aboriginal Men’s Group, and Tribal Warrior.

At the event attended by friends, family, and special guests on Friday 28th June, each of the graduates was presented with a certificate of recognition for participating in the program, which included a Cert I in Maritime Operations (General Purpose Hand), covering critical survival skills, firefighting, first aid, and nautical terminology.

2024 Maritime operations program graduates smiling with certificates
Pictured: 2024 Maritime Operations Program graduates on Sydney Harbour

Having commenced on June 4th, the qualifications are the culmination of three weeks’ hands-on training with Tribal Warrior aboard the Mari Nawi and Lady Northcott.

Employment services provider, Asuria, and Babana Aboriginal will now continue to work with the program’s participants to facilitate their passage into employment.

This year, Transdev Australasia, proud operator of the iconic Sydney Ferries fleet, with nine different classes of vessels, covering 38 wharves over ten key routes has come on board to provide employment pathways for the program’s graduates.

Nicole Norris, DEI and Talent Acquisition Manager at Transdev Australasia said: “We feel fortunate to be involved in this year’s Maritime Operations Program and witness the journeys of its participants from the initial induction some 5 weeks ago, to today’s graduation event.

At Transdev, we often seek talent to join our Sydney Ferries team and we look forward to progressing employment prospects for First Nations Peoples, who have become qualified General-Purpose Hands, through this unique and tailored pathway. Currently 7% of our workforce at Sydney Ferries identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, so connecting with Tribal Warrior, Babana and Asuria, and the program’s participants, has provided us with a great opportunity to grow that number. “

Nicole Grainger-Marsh, CEO Asuria, Australia adds: “We are immensely proud of each and every one of our graduates’ achievements, and we look forward to supporting them in building on this foundation of learning and growth in their future jobs and careers.

“My heartfelt congratulations go out to the entire class, along with their trainers and mentors, and the proof they carry with them of the life-changing difference that this valuable program can make in the lives of Sydney’s Indigenous community.”

Isabella Flick, a program graduate from Maroubra, shared her positive experience from participating in the course: "I liked the people in the program. Learning with a bunch of Aboriginal people we help one another. I like doing courses with my Aboriginal Kinship. It wasn’t easy with a child because of the time, but in the end I completed it. I hope it runs again for our young people so they have career opportunities."

Pictured left-right: CJ Ryan, Isabella Flick, Nicole Grainger-Marsh, Carlene Paulson

Mark Spinks, Chairperson of Babana Aboriginal and Tribal Warrior also added: “It’s always with immense pride and admiration that we celebrate another group of hard-working Indigenous people as they come through a challenging program to prove their readiness for a rewarding career on the water.

“Our thanks go out to Asuria for their continual support and belief in this special program, giving Indigenous people a chance to shine.”

Tribal Warrior Aboriginal Corporation is the only Indigenous Maritime Training Company operating within Australia. Their specialised training programs are all facilitated by qualified Maritime trainers (OTEN). 

Asuria,  Babana Aboriginal and Tribal Warrior  are extremely proud of the hard work and dedication of the participants to complete the program and we look forward to facilitating their passage into employment on Sydney's waterways. 


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