KICE, TAFE SA work together to provide Aquaculture certificate for students

Kangaroo Island Community Education and TAFE SA are working together to deliver a Certificate II in Aquaculture.

KICE has an established aquaculture and aquaponics facility at the Parndana campus where barramundi are grown to be sold to the restaurant at Southern Ocean Lodge.

Working with KICE, TAFE SA is now delivering the Certificate II in Aquaculture to about 12 KICE senior students, from both the Parndana and Kingscote campuses.

TAFE SA's lecturer Dr Josephine Mair, normally based at the Gilles Plain campus, has 30 years' experience in the sector and is very excited to be delivering this qualification to KICE students.

"I've received excellent support from KICE and I'm impressed to see such support from the school leadership for the students, allowing this program to happen," Dr Mair said. "It's amazing and quite beautiful really."

Because of the Island's isolation, the Certificate II program is being offered to the KICE students in a "blended delivery".

Dr Mair will visit the Parndana campus for two days every month and then will catch up with the students regularly in a virtual classroom online.

In her latest visit, she was teaching the students about rotifers, tiny zooplankton animals that are fed to baby fish known as fry. But first you have to breed phytoplankton that the rotifers feed on.

Many of the KI students such as Eliza Havelberg come from an agricultural background living on farms and are well versed in natural food cycles and animal husbandry.

The practical skills she learned from the school's aquaculture program would help her in her agricultural career, she said.

"I have enjoyed the practical aspects and learning about barramundi and how to gut, scale and prepare them for sale," Eliza said.

There were a number of opportunities for the KICE students on the Island once they received their certificates and graduated, with established abalone, oyster and marron farms on KI always looking for workers.

A Certificate II in aquaculture should allow the students to become hatchery technicians on KI or around Australia.

KICE agriculture teacher Barb Cooper said the KI students were keen to learn more about aquaculture.

The Certificate II course had a real focus on the practical and offered lessons in animal husbandry and welfare, which could be applied in any kind of agriculture or aquaculture, she said.

Barra tank video

TAFE SA regional manager Tim Hutchinson said TAFE was super excited to be working with KICE to deliver what it believed was an excellent and exciting program to Kangaroo Island students.

"KICE should be commended for providing their students with incredible opportunities and support," Mr Hutchinson said.

They specifically thanked the teachers, including Parndana head of campus Matt Lin, Kingscote head of campus Peter Philp and agriculture teacher Barb Cooper, whom without the program would not have happened.

Aquaculture is a future growth industry. KICE's fantastic facilities and the various aquaculture products produced from Kangaroo Islands clean, green environment provides a perfect place for young people to learn skills that can create a genuine training and career pathway.

"The Certificate II in Aquaculture is a great qualification blending theory and hands on learning.

"The strength of the qualification is that it can contextualised to suit a variety of produce whether it is fish, shellfish or crustaceans.

"The Certificate II also provides an excellent launch-pad into a Diploma level qualification that can articulate into direct entry offers to a University qualification through Flinders University."