THANKS to his passion for boating, fishing and study, TAFE Illawarra’s Student of the Year, Nicholas Cowley, 18, is one of the youngest professional skippers in the country.
Nicholas and a host of other students and TAFE Illawarra staff were recognised for their achievements at the Institute Awards, on Thursday 15 May, held at City Beach Function Centre, Wollongong.
Nicholas’s passion for skippering boats, motivated him to attend TAFE at night during his Year 11 school studies, to obtain his ticket to skipper by the time he was 18, the legal age required to do so.
TAFE Illawarra’s Relieving Institute Director, Lucy Arundell said: “Congratulations to Nicholas, one of many of TAFE Illawarra’s outstanding students and employees who were formally recognised for their achievements and excellence at the Institute’s award ceremony.”
“Student award winners represented TAFE Illawarra campuses in Goulburn, Moruya, Nowra, Wollongong, Wollongong West and Yallah,” she said.
Nicholas began his journey as a TAFE student at Moruya Campus while he was in Year 11 via a TVET – TAFE while at school course, which granted him the Coxswains Certificate.
He continued to study at TAFE Illawarra throughout his HSC year, attending at night. He continued his TAFE studies after he completed school, until he had obtained a Certificate III in Transport and Distribution (Coastal Maritime Operations – Master Class 5) and Certificate II in Transport and Distribution – Marine Engine Driving Grade 3).
Nicholas now works full-time in Narooma, taking up to 15 people out to sea in charter boats, fishing for such catch as Marlin and King Fish.
“TAFE was really good. It has given me a lot of opportunities,” he says. ”Without my TAFE courses, I wouldn’t have been able to leave school and then go straight into a full time job.”
“Fishing charters is what I love doing, it is perfect,” he said.
Nicholas thanked TAFE Illawarra’s head teacher of Maritime, Transport and Logistics, Colin Tritton, who he says assisted by structuring his TAFE study program around the demands of his final years of High School.
Mr Tritton said: “I met Nicolas in 2012 when he was a student of Maritime Studies, studying his Coxswains Certificate. I found it so refreshing to find someone so young and committed, who knew the path he wanted to go down.”