James was in the Australian defence force until he had an injury at 21 that ended his military career.

James worked in security, as a car salesman, train driver, and has owned his own business, worked as a labourer and had jobs in the shipping and dredging industry. Unfortunately, the nature of the industries and COVID-19 made James redundant twice. With another baby on the way, the pressure was on to find more sustainable and stable employment.

James heard about a maritime traineeship through a friend he served with, and although applications were closed, James used his initiative and introduced himself face-to-face, handed in his resume to Community Solutions and was hired on the spot!

James was accepted into Community Solutions apprenticeship and traineeship program where he was able to earn and learn on the job. James completed a Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Master up to 24 metres Near Coastal) and completed his 2-year traineeship (hosted at Pacific Marine Group) in only 14 months. He was employed directly through Pacific Marine Group effective from the day after he completed.

A day in the life in Maritime Operations

James’ new role has given him opportunities he hasn’t had before, including working on a research vessel for three weeks in the Great Barrier Reef. He feels grateful for the places he is able to see and the experiences he’s having now at this high moment of his career.

“I got to go out to a reef way out in the Coral Sea, where it takes days to get there. It’s a sand island in this pristine environment, where you can see fish on the bottom 30 metres deep, it’s really special. Not many people have ever seen that before.” James says.

James faced some significant personal battles but never gave up. He appreciates the unwavering support his wife, Brittney, gave him throughout his journey and finds motivation through his four children and his crew.

“My kids motivate me. I need the money to support them, but I also want to be as present as possible, and this is the best of both worlds. I really do enjoy working with people too, I want to make sure everybody’s rocking along okay.”

Boat on ocean at sunset

Being nominated for “Todays Skills, Tomorrow’s Leaders” program

Community Solutions nominated James as one of only 25 people accepted into the annual “Todays Skills, Tomorrow’s Leaders” program at Government House in Canberra. James’ drive, motivation and passion were large contributing factors into why he was selected.

James’ Community Solutions Field Officer, Charlie says, “James is a keen, hardworking individual who will do anything asked of him. He is driven to achieve greatness with the want of being nominated for awards as a trainee of the year. At every performance appraisal he strives to better himself with these results.

Being a member of defence James can lead and be an asset to a team, he showed this daily within his traineeship.”

The weeklong program focusses on strengths, interests and capabilities in order to create career clarity and direction and develop personal leadership skills. James found the course valuable and wishes he could do it all over again!

“The course was absolutely amazing. I wish I could do it all again. Everything was so positive, and it’s really going to help with my career and personal development.”

Attributing his success to Community Solutions

James thanks two Community Solutions employees, Makeesha and Charlie, “I want to say one big thank you to Makeesha and Charlie. Lots of people said that I wouldn’t make it through this traineeship, just because of the hardships that you endure along the way. Without them, that probably would have been true. They were just so good. If I needed something, I could count on them.”

What’s next for James?

James is a permanent mate on one of Pacific Marine Group’s nicest vessel and working on a 2-year Townsville dredging project. In his time off he plans to do a third traineeship in Workplace Health and Safety and a Certificate III in Maritime Engineering Operations.

He still hopes to win the Community Solutions ‘Trainee of the Year Award’!

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