A new traineeship program in Cairns is pushing Indigenous kids to up their skills and earn while they learn.

Thirteen SchoolTech students are participating in a new traineeship through the Junior Indigenous Marine and Environmental (JIME) Program that teaches hands-on maritime skills.

Head of SchoolTech Carmel Iivonen said the traineeship provides an opportunity for the involved kids to experience possible future careers.

“As part of the JIME Program, ourstudents will earn while they learn, spending one to two days a week working aboard vessels operated by Experience Co,” she said.

“For the remainder of the school week, the students will complete their senior schooling to achieve their Queensland Certificate of Education, and they will also study two certificate qualifications delivered by TAFE Queensland at the Great Barrier Reef International Marine College.”

Year 11 student and Papua New Guinea girl, Jasmine Uhr, said that she found herself feeling at home out at sea.

“School wasn’t something I really enjoyed before, but coming to SchoolTech at TAFE Queensland and joining this program has really opened my eyes and made me realise the things that I can do with my future,” she said.

“Through this traineeship, I’ll gain my coxswains licence which is really exciting because it will put me one step closer to one day becoming a skipper.”

Yam Island boy, Waylan Satrick said that he has always loved boating and fishing.

“I wanted to join this program so I could gain the skills to start my own crabbing and fishing business, and then hopefully one day have my own reef fishing charter business,” he said.

“This program has already taught me a lot of things that I would never have even thought about before; I’m learning engineering skills, how to fix engines and how to communicate with people – it’s not just about getting out on a boat.”