The Australian International Marine Export Group (AIMEX) acknowledges the future of the marine industry depends upon the acquisition and investment into new talent to sustain and maintain Australia’s innovation and market reputation around the world.  As such, AIMEX is committed to empowering the next generation of marine industry professionals, through the innovative “Australian Marine Apprentice of the Year” Award.  The winner is awarded a trip of a lifetime to Amsterdam to attend the world’s biggest marine trade show METSTRADE with the Australian delegation.   

This year AIMEX is thrilled to be hosting two winning apprentices at METSTRADE – the 2023 winner, Brent Studman, from Echo Marine Group in Western Australia, along with the 2020 winner Jasmine Willoughby, from Aus Ships Group in Queensland, whose trip was previously postponed due to Covid lockdowns.

Brent’s passion for the marine industry was fuelled in his youth through sail training voyages and volunteering on the renowned Sail Training Ship Leeuwin II.  He is currently a third-year apprentice cabinet maker in the fit-out department of Echo Marine Group, where he consistently delivers outstanding work, continuously improves his knowledge and skills and without a doubt his contributions will leave a lasting impact on the industry. 

Jasmine Willoughby’s journey is a testament to the power of self-discovery and following one’s true passion.  Whilst working in a pharmacy and completing a Biomedical Science degree, she discovered an inherent skill in building and fixing display stands which then led her to woodworking as a hobby.  Enjoying the technical skills woodworking offered she then applied for and was accepted into the Superyacht Welding Program offered by East Coast Apprenticeships, where she learnt the introductory skills to be working in the marine industry. 

She was then successful in gaining an apprenticeship with Aus Ships Group and was in her second year of an engineering and fabrication apprenticeship when she received the award.  Jasmine’s employment at Aus Ships grants her exposure to several different trades so she has been able to build on her confidence, skills and knowledge outside of her dedicated trade qualification.  Fast forward to today and Jasmine’s apprenticeship was signed off in February so is now a fully qualified tradesperson and the Safety Representative at Aus Ships Group. 

“Australia’s tradespeople are what makes us such a great marine manufacturer and service provider, they are the reason Australian Made is such a great product.  We want to nurture and grow these tradespeople and taking the best of them to METS each year does two important things. Firstly, as individuals they get to see how big the industry is and it encourages them to remain in the industry.  Secondly, they are the best ambassadors the Australian industry can have and having them attend the largest marine trade show in the world further cements Australia as having the best marine tradespeople.” stated David Good, CEO AIMEX.

AIMEX is honoured to be supporting and enabling the growth of each of these award winners along with all past and future recipients of the “Apprentice of the Year Award”.