The Australian Maritime College at the University of Tasmania plans to significantly increase its VET student numbers by developing new courses to meet changing industry demands, improving flexible delivery options and expanding into key international markets.
Helping to drive this ambitious growth agenda is Peter Whitley, who has taken up the newly created role of Associate Professor of Vocational Education and Training and Deputy Director, National Centre for Ports and Shipping.
Associate Professor Whitley has held senior executive positions across both the university and TAFE sectors and joins AMC from the Central Gippsland Institute of TAFE. He has extensive international experience rolling out vocational training programs in Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and sub-Sahara Africa.
"AMC's history is strongly linked to shipboard training, and while that will continue to be a focus we must also look at expanding to meet the needs of the entire industry," Associate Professor Whitley said.
"The maritime industry extends to people that work on the wharves: the stevedores, transport and logistics personnel, and those responsible for managing staff and financial resources. We need to be exploring training the whole workforce."
He sees partnering with companies to tailor programs that meet their specific training requirements as central to growth in the University's VET sector. In a competitive marketplace, students and their employers are looking for flexible options that include access to online lectures and resources, on-site course delivery and periods of work integrated learning.
Associate Professor Whitley said that providing a superior level of service by improving and adapting course delivery options could be AMC's key point of difference.
"AMC operates within a global market and must look to new markets in order to achieve significant growth in student numbers. South-East Asia and Latin America in particular are still on an upward track and offer the most potential for growth," he said.
"AMC VET has the opportunity to position itself as a training provider of choice by partnering with trans-national companies and their trans-global workforce."
Associate Professor Whitley is also aiming to help AMC capitalise on the changing global economy and the industry's increasing demand for technical skills and knowledge in the maritime industry.
"Technology is racing ahead and more and more things are being automated. We have to prepare our students for that sort of environment and train them with the skills to be able to adapt to a driverless, automated economy," he said.
"The reality is there's a different suite of skills required to what was needed 20 years ago – it's a changing future and we've got to be adaptable to that."
Image: The Australian Maritime College's Associate Professor of Vocational Education and Training Peter Whitley.