Cherissma Blackman has a plan to up-skill indigenous Australians
Cherissma Blackman has a plan to up-skill indigenous Australians Tom Huntley

Maritime industries plan to up-skill indigenous Australians

A PLAN to up-skill indigenous Australians and those from disadvantaged backgrounds in the Gladstone maritime industry is coming together on Friday.

Coinciding with NAIDOC Week, industry and environmental organisations, plus students, will be introduced to the Healthy Sea, Country and Maritime Training Workshop at CQUniversity.

The group will then attend a personal tour on Quoin Island of the Turtle Recovery Project with Bob McCosker.

"With all the industry in the Gladstone Harbour, we don't want our people waving from the docks just looking at the ships. We want people on the ships," organiser Cherissma Blackman said.

"It is an integral part of putting something together for future generations so we are doing Certificate II, looking at maritime vet care and offloading marine vessels.

"So that's captaincy; getting people their Certificate IVs to be a deckhand."

CQ Group (a maritime engineering company), the Maritime Union, Fitzroy Basin Association, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the World Wildlife Fund are part of the collaboration. The Tribal Warrior Association, which specialises in training for jobs in maritime industries, is sending chief executive Shane Phillips from Sydney to assist. "We do have companies like Petronas, who are a proponent of the Gladstone LNG project, who are interested in indigenous training," Ms Blackman said.

"At the end of the day, we want this to be a forum to forge ahead with partnerships in the maritime training industry.

"Having Bob McCosker highlights the local enterprise keen to be involved in indigenous partnerships."
Ms Blackman is a business trainer and runs her company, Njardoo Training and Development, though she said this project was important to her personally as a Gurang tribe local traditional custodian. "I see a huge problem there with our people not being given opportunities in the maritime training sector," she said.
 "This is going to address unemployment."
The initiative has been years in the making for the local people, with traditional owners Mal Walker, Leigh Blackman and Nat Minniecon travelling to Kuala Lumpur in 2011 to visit the Petronas Towers and discuss its possibilities.