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Joint project ‘Growing Our Own’ is creating employment pathways for Torres Strait Islanders

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA), in partnership with Tagai State College, Mypathway
and TAFE North Queensland, commenced the first in a series of projects to provide employment
pathways for school leavers.
The partners all have an interest in developing the skills and abilities of school leavers, and have
been working cooperatively with the students to develop an innovative training package.
Each of the partners in the programme are bringing to the table a range of skills and expertise to
assist the school leavers to identify their individual goals and a meaningful pathway to
The TSRA Chairperson, Mr Joseph Elu, said this is the first time year 12 students with an interest in
maritime related employment have been offered the opportunity to commence a Coxswain Course
that allows them to operate a commercial vessel up to 12 metres.
“Thirteen selected students were all undertaking the marine studies stream at Tagai Campus and
this training will round out their skills and remove a significant barrier to employment,” Mr Elu said.
“The students were given the opportunity to identify their areas of interest, these included fishing,
customs and the Navy.
“The maritime industry offers a variety of employment opportunities in the Torres Strait region,
including jobs in commercial fishing, tourism, ferry transport, pilotage and cargo transport.
“On completion of this round of training, the students will be moved into more specialised training
in the next step of their maritime career progression. Those interested in fishing will be offered wild
harvest dive training, and others interested in operating vessels will be trained in Marine
Engineering qualifications.”
Mr Elu said this year there will be an expression of interest for others who have already been
trained to join this group of students for a six month traineeship.
“The traineeships will allow the trainees to be paid a training wage, while being exposed to industry
based placements across a broad range of industries,” Mr Elu said.
At a recent fishing industry meeting organised by the partners, many of the large fishing operators
in the region pledged their support to the programme, this will provide the necessary industry 
exposure for the trainees to ensure they are given the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills and
confidence to be employed in the industry.

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