Employment & Training

Torres Strait Maritime Pathway Project

The Torres Strait Maritime Pathway Project (TSMPP) is fully funded by the TSRA and is being delivered in 2016-17 in partnership with My Pathway through its registered training organisation, Training Connections Australia.  The primary aim of the TSMPP is to enhance the skills and capability of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people, residing within the Torres Strait region, to operate commercial vessels and create maritime career pathways in related industries such as fishing, tourism, coastal trading and the offshore maritime shipping industry.

Want to hear more about the success of the TSMPP? There’s no better way than to hear it from the trainees and employers themselves.

Since 2013 over 210 Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people have undertaken TSMPP.  95 per cent of students successfully completed the courses with over 80 per cent of students transitioning into maritime related employment.

Trainees in action

The focus for training in 2016-2017 will include Coxswains (Vessels to 12 Metres) Master to <24 metres, Marine Engine Driver Grade III, Wild Harvest Diver, Seafood Operations Certificate III.  The project partners are seeking to remove barriers to employment and to improve safety of those operating in the maritime industries in the Torres Strait. Nationally accredited training is provided, which enables students to work anywhere in Australia.

Trainees ready for diving. Ship in transit

The partners are expecting to announce up to 20 paid traineeships in the coming months for new and former students.  These traineeships will help them develop their confidence and skills by working directly with a range of employers in the Region.  Employers in the fishing, diving and coastal trading industries have already committed to the programme.  This presents an exciting opportunity to build on and extend this very successful project!

Growing Our Own – Maritime Stream

The Growing Our Own project is coordinated and funded by the TSRA and is delivered in partnership with the Tagai State College, TAFE North Queensland, Queensland Department. Education and Training and the CDP Provider, My Pathway.  In 2015 thirteen Year 12 students undertaking the marine studies stream were offered the opportunity to undertake a Coxswain Course in the final weeks of the school year.  The qualification enables them to operate a commercial vessel up to 12 metres.  The course included a practical component which included the students visiting the International Maritime Centre (IMC) in Cairns and working on a vessel transiting from Cairns to Thursday Island.

On completion of the training the students undertook their oral examinations. Students successfully completed the training and were awarded a nationally accredited Certificate of Competency. From the original 13 students four moved into fulltime employment in the maritime industry.  11 students are continuing their maritime pathway journey and have started Marine Engine Driver III training.

Trainees in action

2016 has seen the programme extended to Year 11 as well as Year 12 students.  The Year 11 students are undertaking General Purpose Hand qualifications while the Year 12s have started Coxswains training.  Both groups travelled to Cairns where they attended the IMC and got to experience the ship simulator, engineering workshops, fire and damage control and slip yard operations.  The trip also enabled the students to experience an extended voyage of seven nights aboard a commercial vessel.  The shipboard experience gave the students the opportunity to undertake practical training in a real world setting and to complete task book activities.

At a recent fishing industry meeting organised by the project partners, a number of the fishing operators in the region pledged their support to the programme by offering to take trainees to work on their vessel.

Thursday Island Boat Club Project: Matching training to Employment

The Thursday Island Boat Club project (the project) demonstrates the TSRA's commitment to economic development and wealth creation in the region. The project provided Community Development Programme (CDP) Jobseekers with practical on the job development and training aligned to the needs of the local building industry.

Construction site

Commencing in December 2015 with 15 Job Seekers the project was a result of a collaboration between the TSRA, My Pathway (the CDP service provider) and the Torres Strait Youth Recreational Sports Association (TSYRSA).  The project included demolition work, creation of a new toilet block and a large storage shed for boats and other equipment. Renovation of the existing building included replacement of the roof, a new outdoor deck area, installation of a commercial grade kitchen, new internal ceilings and floor coverings.  Local builder Rob Clarke and his team provided essential on-the-job supervision and guidance throughout the renovation and associated building works. Participation in the project enabled Job Seekers to work toward completion of a Certificate II in Construction Training.

Workers on the inside

The Job Seekers also developed a work ethic and learnt about working in a team.  My Pathway mentor, Gavin Bin Juda said ‘Working with Bob (foreman) was good.  We got a heap of boys employed which was my goal.  Watching and learning about the little things was amazing.  I always wondered, how do you do that? And now I know’!

The project has been keenly watched by employers in the local building industry, who have approached the Boat Club to recruit suitably skilled people to work on other commercial building sites on Thursday Island. By using this project as a launching platform, 19 Jobseekers have gained fulltime paid employment and successfully exited the Community Development Programme with a range of new skills, experience and qualifications.  Positive feedback from employers and employees demonstrates the success of the project.

Community Development Programme

The Community Development Programme (CDP) is the Australian Government's remote employment and community development service. The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) is the Agreement Manager for the CDP in the Torres Strait (Region 59). This means that we are responsible for overseeing the delivery and performance of the CDP provider, My Pathway.

(Please be aware that Region 59 does not include the Northern Peninsula Area (NPA). The NPA is managed by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet through its Cairns Regional Office. For information concerning the NPA please contact the Cairns office on 1800 079 098 or email fnqregion@network.pmc.gov.au)

CDP has two parts; helping people find work, and allowing them to contribute to their communities and gain skills while looking for work.

The Australian Government started the CDP on 1 July 2015, replacing the Remote Jobs and Community Programme. The Australian Government believes the CDP better serves people in remote Australia, leading to better job opportunities and helping community members to help themselves.  The CDP is an essential part of the Australian Government’s agenda for increasing employment and breaking the cycle of welfare dependency in remote areas of Australia.

Frog gully community garden

The CDP is flexible and focused on local decision making and local solutions. Under the CDP, job seekers with activity requirements are expected to do up to 25 hours per week of work-like activities that benefit their community. Activities can take different forms and are suited to the job seeker, their community and the local job market.

Providers, including My Pathway in the Torres Strait are working with remote communities to increase the number and range of community development activities available. They are also promoting these opportunities to the CDP participants while helping them to understand what they need to do to continue receiving income support.

The CDP participants in remote Australia receive personalised assistance from their provider to help build their skills, get a job and to participate to their maximum capacity. Job seekers can undertake formal training, with the opportunity to gain qualifications, or foundational skills training, including language, literacy and numeracy and driver's training, as part of their activity requirement. Job seekers can also gain up to six months of work experience in a real workplace.

Consultation Paper - Changes to the Community Development Programme (CDP)

On 2 December 2015 the Australian Government introduced the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Community Development Program) Bill 2015 (the CDP Bill) into Parliament. More information can be found here:

If you would like further information on CDP in the Torres Strait please contact us via email at economic@tsra.gov.au or telephone 07 4068 0700.