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- ADAS Aquaculture
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Mark Cate, a 39-year-old carpenter and joiner from New Norfolk, has taken the plunge into commercial diving and hasn’t looked back. Mark is a part of a growing wave of workers looking to broaden their career horizons in this industry. The reasons for this trend are as many and varied as the people themselves. They include job security, better pay, better hours, more time with the family, a sense of achievement and even the pursuit of adventure. In Mark’s case, when asked what attracted him to work as a diver in the booming aquaculture sector, his response was “I did it for fun” – but he does concede the promise of better pay was also a contributing factor.
Mark Cate graduated from our ADAS Aquaculture Course. Having recently received funding from Skills Tasmania, we’re now able to provide funded training for an additional 30 people to address the serious shortage of qualified divers across Australia’s fastest growing primary industry: Aquaculture.
On completion of the course, Mark contacted a major salmon producer, was granted an interview, and was soon offered a position.
A good start to a commercial diving career
“I’ve always been into diving”, says Mark. “I knew that working as a diver in aquaculture could be a good start for a career in commercial diving. I plan to do my Part 2 and 3 eventually, to go offshore, and maybe even look at saturation diving in the future – that really interests me.”
For the past few months, Mark has been performing some essential tasks for the company including the weighting and deweighting of fish cages; as well as running “crowd nets” – a delicate procedure that needs to be carried out correctly to ensure the welfare of the fish before their removal from the pens.
When asked how the new career compares with his previous job, Mark had this to say. “I was self-employed as a builder so, physically, it’s not that different. Salary-wise, it’s probably about the same just at the moment, but I only have to work four days so I get more time with my family. It’s also nice to be employed by someone else, it’s much less stressful!”
Aquaculture industry growth = diver shortage
According to the National Aquaculture Sector Overview, this industry is “growing each year, and driving the growth has been increasing global demand for fisheries products which the world’s commercial fisheries are increasingly unable to meet.” CSIRO research also supports the growth of the Australian aquaculture industry, putting its annual value at “more than AUS$800 million – accounting for more than one-third of Australia’s total seafood production.”
“There are still more jobs out there as there’s still a shortage of divers in the industry,” says Mark Cate. This may all be food for thought for others out there considering a change. As they say, dive in, the water’s just fine!”