Australian Reef Pilots win training award
A coastal pilot training program tailored to the unique challenges of working on the Great Barrier Reef has been recognised by the Transport & Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC).
Australian Reef Pilots (ARP) was awarded the 2015 Innovation and Excellence in Workforce Development Award in the maritime Sector for the competency-based training of its Pilot Boat Launch Crew.
ARP CEO Simon Meyjes said he was proud of the high quality of the company’s Launch Master Traineeship Program.
“Every day, our world-class pilots put their vast experience and local knowledge to the test, guiding massive tonnages through some of the most challenging sea passages on Earth,” Mr Meyjes said.
“However, it is the ‘Pilots behind the Pilots’ – our launch crews – who make sure the pilots get safely aboard the cargo and cruise ships, which may be up to 110 nautical miles out to sea.
“It’s a workplace unlike any other and it’s vital that our Launch Masters can perform their role efficiently, effectively and safely, no matter what conditions the Reef throws at them.”
Mr Meyjes said ARP trainees spend up to six months learning the necessary skills and applying them in real-world situations.
“This not only helps them to acquire skills more quickly but also to understand them more deeply. The formal qualification process then becomes a test of skills they have already mastered,” he said.
“Our commitment to rigorous on-the-job training is a major factor behind our exemplary safety record, despite a 48 per cent increase in shipping traffic on the Reef over the past 14 years.”
Mr Meyjes said the training program had brought productivity improvements and cost savings, including improved vessel reliability and higher staff retention.
“We have seen a 50 per cent return on investment, purely from reduced maintenance costs.”
In line with its commitment to providing jobs within the local community, ARP has also graduated six Torres Strait residents as marine operations personnel.
“Our competency-based model lets us take into account cultural differences in learning methods and adapt our training accordingly,” Mr Meyjes said.
ARP is Australia’s oldest reef pilotage company, having safely guided ships through Queensland waters for more than 125 years.