The Boating Industry Association Ltd (BIA) has announced a partnership with the Australian Institute of Engineering (AIE) aimed at enhancing support for boating industry businesses in regional areas, improving access to apprentice training.

“In our collaborative efforts to date with AIE, we’ve seen success in supporting training of apprentices in South Australia, addressing a historical scarcity of opportunities,” said BIA CEO Andrew Scott. “By establishing a formal partnership with AIE, our goal is to extend this success to other member States as part of our commitment to promote education, skills and jobs.”

AIE employ a well-proven hybrid approach, incorporating online and in-person training and assessment. The tailor-made program is ideal for regional settings where traditional apprentice training might face hurdles due lack of local training providers or distances to travel to training centres.

“AIE is excited to be working with the BIA and to support its members with flexible training options in their workplaces”, said AIE Executive Director of Education, Brett Ambrosio. “AIE has a strong focus on increasing the numbers of School Based Apprentices and offering customised training solutions to businesses across Australia to try and help with the current skills shortage.”

This collaboration forms a crucial part of BIA’s broad approach to addressing the issue of ongoing workforce development in the boating industry where there is high demand for trades such as marine craft construction and marine mechanical technology.

AIE is currently delivering Certificate III in Marine Craft Construction to nine employers and 10 shipwright apprentices in South Australia, providing essential support to BIA member boat manufacturers, such as Mannum Slipway, Matrix Marine and Northbank Marine.

Also benefiting from AIE-supported apprentices, Blacker Marine Customs in Mackay, QLD, has added three apprentices to its team in the past year, significantly contributing to their ability to meet growing demands.

Jake Blacker, Director of Blacker Marine Customs, expressed his satisfaction with the program, “It has been very beneficial to our business being able to employ Shipwright/Boat Building apprentices, and in ensuring the longevity of boat building in Australia. The apprentices don’t need to travel to Coomera on the Gold Coast, or source accommodation for the time frame required down there each month. The major advantage for the Apprentices is they can use the workshop welders and equipment that all of them are familiar with daily. Very happy to be able to work with AIE and the support they offer to our business and staff is great. This is definitely a program that the top of Queensland requires without doubt”.

The partnership with AIE is founded on BIA’s commitment to education, skills, and jobs to support workforce development and address critical skills shortages, ensuring a robust future for the boating industry.