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The long and the short of Indigenous trainers

Thursday 20 November 2014
The Australian Maritime College (AMC), in support of the Torres Strait Marine Safety Program (TSMSP), recently announced a significant appointment in the highly successful program. 
Aunty Phyllis and Stan (centre) the longest and shortest serving Aboriginal and Torres Strait training staff, with Jarrod and Steve from AMC

The new member of the TSMSP team is Stanley Ansey, a Torres Strait Islander with over 20 years’ experience in dive industries across Northern Australia including Cray Fishing, Pearl Diving and Commercial Salvage operations.  Stan’s work is to directly support the students and assist AMC trainers and assessors further develop their skills and knowledge in delivering this highly successful training to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Stan himself is a student of the TSMSP, having completed his Coxswain Grade One and Marine Engine Driver Grade Three courses with the program during the first training conducted by AMC in 2013.

Stan’s position was well contested, with a number of community members indicating their interest in working within the TSMSP.  Stan’s success was due to a combination of extensive experience, contemporary studies, leadership skills and engaging nature.  Jarrod Weaving, Manager Vocational Education and Training at AMC chaired the process and was thrilled to make the announcement in front of Stan’s peers who were with Stan as they were all attending a Certificate III in Seafood Operations at the Launceston Campus. 

By coincidence, Stan’s appointment was announced shortly after Aunty Phyllis Pitchford was recognised as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island High Education Advisory Council Award for Elders and Leaders in Higher Education. Aunty Phyllis is an ambassador and Elder in residence at University of Tasmania’s Newnham Campus, where many of the AMC facilities are located. She is a driving force behind the Riawunna Indigenous Centre and has been recognised among other things for inspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island students who are considering or already engaged in tertiary studies. Aunty Phyllis provided a very emotional ‘Welcome to Country’ for the TSMSP’s first AMC students in 2014 and is responsible for the Torres Strait flag now being flown at the centre alongside the Aboriginal flag. 

A flag raising ceremony on the arrival of current TSMSP students was a moment that had a very positive impact on the students and their families in the Far North. During morning tea that followed the flag ceremony, it was pointed out that AMC is lucky enough to have the longest and shortest serving Aboriginal and Torres Strait training staff in any program of the country, an achievement of which the individuals and organisations are very proud.

The TSMSP is a partnership between the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Maritime Safety Queensland, Torres Strait Regional Authority, Queensland Police Service, and the Government of Papua New Guinea. The primary focus is improving and promoting boating safety in Torres Strait, reducing the number of search and rescue operations in the area, increasing the survivability of people lost at sea and supporting development of the near coastal maritime industry in the region.

Stan and his team have another 10 days in Tasmania and then return to Cairns to complete the Wild Harvest Dive elements of the AMC training. Additional training courses with AMC are ongoing, with ‘at sea’ training commencing next week.

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Flag raising ceremony, AMC
Flag raising ceremony, AMC