Port Macquarie beachgoers can feel much safer thanks to a local initiative that has seen ETC job seekers trained to use drone technology.
Port Macquarie beachgoers can feel much safer thanks to a local initiative that has seen ETC job seekers trained to use drone technology to provide extra shark surveillance on Town and Flynns Beach this summer. The Ripper Aviation Academy General Manager Rob Curtis said the ‘extra eyes in the sky’ would offer additional surveillance to the existing patrol towers.
“We are really pleased to have partnered with ETC, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and Surf Lifesaving NSW to provide this service,” Mr Curtis said. “The benefit of using drones is that they provide a different perspective during beach patrols and are really useful for shark identification. They also have speed on their side and can help improve response times when someone is in distress.” Mr Curtis said the candidates were selected from a program aimed at addressing youth unemployment and providing professional opportunities.
“The Ripper Aviation Academy’s RPAS Operator Course included training and certification in CASA’s RePL and AROC. “Of the 11 candidates, four were selected to conduct a four-week internship aimed at equipping them with industry specific skill sets and the professional attributes required to conduct UAV operations. “The internship encompassed an intensive training package delivered by Westpac Little Ripper Life Saver Pilots, combined with additional aviation training at The Ripper Aviation Academy,” Mr Curtis said. “At the training completion, all four pilots commenced employment with the Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver, providing an enduring UAV surveillance capability on Port Macquarie’s beaches for the duration of the patrol season.” In addition to general surveillance and public safety, Mr Curtis said the pilots were also contributing to data collection requirements under an arrangement between the DPI (Fisheries) and SLSNSW.
“We’re also pleased to announce that one of the candidates who was unsuccessful in gaining an internship has been offered employment as The Ripper Aviation Academy’s office manager,” Mr Curtis said. ETC’s chief operating officer Damon Munt said it was a pleasure to be involved in the local initiative. “We are really excited to be partnering with the Ripper Group to provide this opportunity for our job seekers,” Mr Munt said. “Drone technology is certainly a growing area and ETC is really keen to be at the forefront of ensuring our clients have the skills required for not only current vacancies, but also for jobs of the future.”