Academy apprentice

A Boating Industry Academy student has been signed up for a school-based apprenticeship, just 10 months after the program’s launch.

22 November 2023


The Boating Industry Academy has achieved a significant milestone after a 16-year-old became the first student to be signed up for a school-based apprenticeship with Watson Marine Engineering.

Launched on the Gold Coast with a consortium of marine employers in January 2023, the Boating Industry Academy is the first industry-driven program for high school students wishing to pursue a career in the boating and marine industries. The program is a collaboration between the Australian Industry Trade College (AITC) and the Boating Industry Association Ltd (BIA).

The academy provides an industry-driven program for high school students wishing to pursue a career in the boating and marine industries, whilst completing senior school.

Students spend five weeks a term in school (at the AITC Robina campus) and up to 28 weeks a year at the Coomera Marine Precinct, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.


With 23 students currently enrolled and a further intake of approximately 12 starting in February, the academy is on its way to delivering a pipeline of young people keen to enter the marine workforce.

Having joined the academy when it launched, Dominic is enthusiastic and dedicated with a demonstrated passion for the boating industry. He will now embark on an exciting journey, undertaking a school-based apprenticeship that allows him to gain practical skills and knowledge while completing high school.

By offering apprenticeships in collaboration with industry leaders like Watson Marine Engineering, the academy says it is bridging the gap between education and employment, ensuring that students are well-prepared for the demands of the boating industry.

“We’re thrilled to see Dominic signed up as a school-based apprentice in our Boating Industry Academy with Watsons,” says Mark Bohan, principal of AITC Gold Coast School.

“This is a significant step toward nurturing talent in the boating industry and preparing Dominic for a bright future.”

Kelly Manttan, director of Watson Marine Engineering adds: “We believe in investing in young people and the future of the boating industry, and our partnership with the Australian Industry Trade College is a testament to our commitment.

“We are excited to work closely with Dominic and other students to provide them with valuable experience and knowledge in the field.”

The boating and marine industries offer a range of career pathways, from boat building, cabinet making and upholstery, to welder, composite technician and engineer, and marine mechanic/ technician.

The Australian Industry Trade College and the Boating Industry Association say they look forward to seeing more aspiring students join the academy to pursue their passions and build a promising career in the boating industry.

BIA CEO Andrew Scott highlights that nurturing and creating pathways for young people is key to a thriving future in boating. “The BIA is committed to fostering workforce development,” he says.

“We collaborate with various stakeholders, to inspire and attract talent to pursue fulfilling careers in the boating sector. A skilled and passionate workforce is the cornerstone of our industry, and the academy at the AITC certainly helps build this future workforce.”



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