Coomera, Queensland, Australia: Riviera has for decades been an Australian marine industry leader in the field of shaping the boat-builders, designers and master craftsmen of tomorrow.
This year, Riviera has a total of 36 apprentices coming through the ranks at its world-class headquarters at Coomera on Australia’s Gold Coast, including school-based, first, second-year and mature-aged apprentices.
Another 100 apprentices are based at the Gold Coast Institute of TAFE marine training centre, which opened at the beginning of 2014 and is located within the state-of-the-art Riviera facility.
Riviera chairman and owner Rodney Longhurst, Riviera chief executive officer Wes Moxey are both former trades apprentices and vocal advocates of developing the marine industry’s skills set of tomorrow.
Riviera’s Scott Cumming is also a former apprentice, beginning his career with Australia’s most-awarded luxury yacht builder and rising to the position of general manager, a position he holds with Riviera today.
“We are passionate about Australian manufacturing, about being Australian-owned and about the future … because we are passionate about creating jobs for Australians,” Mr Moxey told a 2015 intake at a welcome breakfast at the Riviera Yacht Club in February.
“Today, under the ownership of Rodney Longhurst, we are rebuilding our strong heritage of training and personal development and I am very pleased to say that this year we have 36 apprentices developing the skills needed to steer the industry into a prosperous future.”
The school-based apprenticeship program offered in collaboration with Helensvale State High School dates back to 1997 and, with the support of Mr Longhurst and Mr Moxey, was revived in 2013 for a new intake at the beginning of 2014.
“I remember in 1996 people were saying it could not be done but we did it, and it has produced hundreds of craftsmen and some of the best in the business today,” said Mr Moxey. “Many of them have had the opportunity to work and live overseas with Riviera.”
Ms Annette Grebert – senior field officer, South East Region, Department of Education & Employment – thanked Riviera and its 430-strong team of international designers, boat-builders, engineers and master craftsmen for being such dedicated supporters of the apprenticeship system.
“Riviera understands the value of training in the workforce and has a long history of contributing to the community and growing its own people,” she said. “You, the 2015 apprentices, have a great opportunity in a great workplace to learn from some of the best in the boat-building business.
“I congratulate you on your career choice and … enjoy the journey.”
Apprenticeship project mentor Tony Vaughan said Riviera’s first-year apprentices undertake practical on-the-job training in all aspects, including boat building, lamination, upholstery, electrical and engineering as they work towards a Certificate 1 in Boating.
“Our school-based apprentices are based at Riviera two days a week, one day at the TAFE centre, and the other day is dedicated to on-the-job training,” he said.
“The students are truly immersed in the dynamics of the luxury yacht-building industry and gain a full understanding of all the trades, providing valuable experience and knowledge of their craft.”
The Gold Coast Institute of TAFE marine training centre is a great example of Riviera working with educational institutions to shape the skills set of tomorrow.
The centre opened at the Riviera facility at the beginning of 2014, with 100 apprentices enrolled in Marine Mechanical Technology and Marine Craft Construction.
Mr Vaughan said a skilled and educated workforce is essential to not only the industry’s growth and development but also the region’s.
“The marine training centre provides an interesting and motivating learning environment for apprentices equipped with the latest equipment and cutting edge training,” he said.
The centre is ideally located in the heart of the Gold Coast Marine Precinct where, each year, over 13,000 boats are manufactured, over 6000 boats are slipped, serviced, refitted or repaired, where over 2000 people are directly employed and where the value of the supply chain servicing the businesses located at the precinct runs into hundreds of millions of dollars.
Mr Moxey said the marine training centre has an integral role in supporting the growth of the marine industry in the years ahead.
“Where else in the world can apprentices combine boat-building theory and training with practical on-the-job experience in the one location, within the largest luxury yacht building facility in the country?
“Apprentices learn valuable practical and life skills by being completely immersed in the marine industry, in a place of motivation and inspiration where they can see new world-class boats under construction as well as witness the completed boats being launched,” he said.
Mr Moxey left the apprentices with some wise words of advice: “You are the future of the marine industry in Australia so it’s up to you to be proud, passionate and responsible.
“If there’s one thing I would like you to take away from today it’s taking responsibility for your work – if you make a mistake, own up to it … it can be and will be fixed. The owners of luxury Riviera yachts make a significant investment in the quality of everything we do here at Riviera … and we should all remember that so we can continue to be among the world’s leading luxury yacht brands.”