AMSA Aviation search and rescue mission coordinator Sheridan Howell shares her experience as a woman progressing in the field of search and rescue.  

‘If there are any women that have any doubts about it—I say go for it!’ 

Senior search and rescue officer Cindy-Lee Francis discusses the value of working in a diverse team at AMSA. 

‘When we are presented with a problem, we come together as a team to solve it with our different ways of approaching things.’ 

AMSA’s scholarship program includes a Women in Maritime Engineering Scholarship.  

The 2020 and 2021 AMSA Women in Maritime Engineering Scholarship recipients are Hayley Bellinger and Shelby Hewins, both of whom studied at the University of Tasmania. 

We interviewed Hayley and Shelby about their career aspirations, what it’s like to be young women in maritime, and what the UN Women theme of gender equality means to them. 

Q: How did you get into studying maritime engineering?

I was interested in renewable energy which is offered within the ocean engineering degree at the Australian Maritime College.

Q: What attracted you to the maritime industry?

The maritime industry drew my attention with the possibility of wave power energy concepts, along with the variety of future career choices that can be taken.

Q: What are your career aspirations?

I aim to complete my engineering degree and work in the maritime industry, within the renewable energy sector as this is where my biggest interests lie.

Q: How has the AMSA scholarship helped you on your path?

It has allowed me to focus on my studies without stressing about juggling my financial situation, whilst also providing me with a mentor which has been very helpful with developing my professional career traits.

Q: What do you think prevents women from getting into the maritime sector and have you experienced any barriers in the industry so far?

I think women are a little intimidated about the complexity and workload that comes along with being in engineering, along with knowing that it’s a male-dominated sector. However, in my experience I have found that everyone has been respectful and helpful throughout my degree and within the industry.

Shelby Hewins

Shelby Hewins, AMSA scholarship recipient

Q: The theme for this year’s United Nations International Women’s Day is ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’. What does gender equality look like you and do you have any thoughts on how more women in (maritime) engineering will make a difference?

Equality to me is everyone having a right to be there without any judgements regardless of your gender. It would be good to see more women in maritime engineering, as I believe that more women will make a difference to how problems are approached, which will lead to more innovative solutions.

Q: What would you tell another woman who was interested in entering the maritime industry?

Go for it – the maritime industry is really interesting and a great opportunity for anyone to be in.