Port Kembla teenager Ruby Peterlin loves working at the Port Authority of New South Wales.
The fact that it is close to home is a bonus but that's not the main reason the 18-year-old is encouraging other girls to think seriously about a career in the maritime industry.
"There aren't many women at the port but it really is a great industry to get involved in," Miss Peterlin said.
"It is a great hands-on job. You really do learn heaps."
The Wadi Wadi woman is undertaking a maritime training program for Indigenous women.
Port Authority of New South Wales has partnered with not-for-profit Tribal Warrior to develop the maritime training program that will help Indigenous women set a new course for their careers.
Tribal Warrior's Female Maritime Traineeship Program will provide practical on-the-job training and mentoring backed with the formal qualifications needed to succeed in the maritime industry.
The two-year course will give trainees essential seamanship skills and help them gain valuable sea-time experience so they can attain the maritime qualification of Master up to 24 metres (near coastal).
"I only started the course in January but I'm loving it," Miss Peterlin said.
"At the end of this traineeship I will hopefully end up as a qualified skipper and will have attained my Master 5.
"At the moment I'm learning different parts of the maritime industry. It has been very interesting being on the pilot boat, I really have learnt a lot.
"Soon I'll go up to the Vessel Traffic System (VTS) to learn how to use the radio and communication system properly.."
The former Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts student added she felt right at home working for the Port Authority.
"Everyone here at the Port Authority is very inclusive and supportive of me. It is very good. I don't feel any different, I've been made to feel part of the team and just one of the guys," she said.
Meantime Peter Ernst, the head of operations at Port Kembla and South Coast for the Port Authority of NSW, said it had been a busy few months for Port Kembla.
"For the last 10 years we've seen a steady decline in vessel visitation and now we've seemed to have turned the corner and we are definitely seeing more cargo movement through the port," Mr Ernst said.
"The steelworks here has also been going really well. We're seeing a lot more vessels moving through their facilities. Another good news story for Port Kembla is our recent attainment of BTS certification from AMSCAR. It really brings us into a modern port operating model."
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