Trainees learn the ropes on SeaLink ferries

SeaLink Travel Group has given six enthusiastic people a start in the tourism and transport industry with the introduction of a new trainee program.

The six trainees commenced work this month on the Kangaroo Island daily ferry services, with three trainees working on each ferry.

There are two positions for each of the three traineeships; two for vessel master, two for marine engineer and two for stewards in hospitality.

The traineeships are for a 24-month period, all resulting in a Certificate 3 level qualification in Hospitality or Marine Operations and include a combination of on-the-job training as well as offsite classroom style learning.

The six trainees were chosen from 230 applications and are Matthew Grindley, Ben Childs, Cooper Dungey and James Anderson all from Kangaroo Island and Harry Gardiner from Plympton and Sophia Laczko from Seaford Rise.

Marine engineer trainee Ben Childs grew up and attended school at Kingscote before departing for a 11-year career in the Royal Australian Navy, where he traveled the world with last posting being on HMAS Newcastle as an aviation engineer. 

“I’ve done 11 and half years in the Navy so it seem like a logical step sideways coming back to go to sea again,” Mr Childs said.

Mr Grindley meanwhile is originally from Adelaide but now lives at Emu Bay with his Islander girlfriend Millie Speed. He hopes to get eventually get his Master Class 5 ticket and to become a master on a boat or ship.

This is quite attainable according to the master of the Sealion 2000, Nick Octoman, who said previous trainees offered positions on the SeaLink ferries had gone on to attain Master and other qualifications.

“We’ve had some good people come through over the years and get their tickets and jobs at sea,” Mr Octoman said. “We’ve had them come straight from school, start pouring coffees and then get a bit of deck work.”

SeaLink have partnered with Australian Industry Group Apprentice and Trainee Centre (AiG ATC) for the traineeship program. AiG ATC has employed the trainees, while SeaLink is hosting them. 

According to SeaLink South Australia general manager Donna Gauci, SeaLink looked forward to implementing this traineeship program across the company in the future.

“The trainee program provides an entry point into the industry, allowing trainees to obtain a qualification while they work in their chosen trade and gain valuable experience,” Ms Gauci said.

“The new trainees are incredibly eager and will provide excellent support for the existing SeaLink crews.

“We look forward to supporting them throughout their traineeships and assisting them in developing skills that will see them enjoying a career in the industry in the future.” 

SeaLink’s two car and passenger ferries offer up to 12 services per day to Kangaroo Island at peak times. 

The Sealion 2000 can carry 353 passengers and 55 cars and the Spirit of Kangaroo Island can carry 244 passengers and 53 cars.

Both are twin hulled, catamaran ferries complete with air-conditioned lounges, aircraft and café style seating, and a licensed café.