20 May 2023

Lassies who dream of the sea, there's an opportunity ahoy!

| Zoe Cartwright
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women at port

The participants who took up the SisterShip training last year. Photo: Jackie Parry.

Women who’ve dreamed of freedom on the open ocean, here’s an opportunity for you.

A fully funded, accredited maritime training course will be held in the Bega Valley from June – and it’s free for women.

SisterShip training was started by Jackie Parry and her husband Noal.

The pair completed tens of thousands of recreational sailings together before they began to offer training courses, first through TAFE and then independently.

“A lot of the time, women who are interested in boats end up being taught by their partner – it doesn’t always go well,” Jackie laughed.

“If you haven’t been on a boat before, it can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re the only woman there.

“To have another woman show you what needs to be done, to show you it’s absolutely possible to become a great mariner, that gives you a sense of confidence.”

The course doesn’t just give confidence – it also provides participants with a recognised qualification so they can go on to further study or employment in the industry.

There are also introductions to various professionals who work on the water, so participants can get an idea of what pathways might be open to them.

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The project is funded under the grant scheme by the Trade Pathways Program – Training Services NSW.

It’s also a great way for women considering recreational sailing, alone or with a friend or partner, to become ”boat-ready”.

“When we were sailing around the world, it’s pure freedom,” Jackie said.

“You’ve got your own power, water, bed, pillow even, and you maintain that to the standard you want or need.

“If everything is all right in your little boat, everything’s all right with the world.

“You very rarely have outside help, so it’s freedom, responsibility and a challenge. You’re constantly learning.”

women on ship

SisterShip participants get their sea legs as part of the maritime training course. Photo: Jackie Parry.

If the ocean beckons but the Bega Valley isn’t convenient – or you’re pressed for time – you can still glean some valuable knowledge from the SisterShip course.

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It has options for both accredited and non-accredited training, and those who are curious are welcome to dip their toes in.

“I’m known for being as flexible as I can in helping people,” Jackie said.

“Some parts of the accredited training are in person, but everything else is come to what you can, we’ll provide everything you need, it’s fully funded and you can study at home.

“If you’re motivated, you can catch up at home, or come and have a look this time and join next time.

“We’re all a bit frantic these days, so if you’re thinking about it but aren’t sure, just get in touch and I can answer any questions. We’re really happy to do what we can to make people fit.”

For more information, head to Free-Funded Maritime Training for Women – (sistershiptraining.com).

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