Luxury yacht export industry sails ahead with the AITC

Adam Houlahan, Safety, Training and Recruitment Manager of Riviera Australia with young person, Gabby.

Riviera Australia is the largest luxury yacht building facility in the Southern Hemisphere. For more than 41 years they have built over 5,700 luxury motor yachts at their purpose-built, state-of-the-art, 16.8 hectare site at Coomera on the Gold Coast.

With an 800+-strong team, they have a comprehensive apprenticeship program which attributes to the beauty of these handcrafted yachts. Apprentices are highly valued and regarded nationally and internationally such is the depth of skills and life training offered through the unique Riviera apprentice training program.

Internationally feted for their peerless quality, build materials, structural strength, ease of operation and fine luxury finish, our AITC young people contribute their skills and help create something special.

Adam Houlahan, Safety, Training and Recruitment Manager of Riviera Australia says the team is referred to as “the Riviera family”.

Management staff have all come through as apprentices. “People from our senior executive team, who have been with the company for 20-30 years, they’ve come through our training programme,” says Adam. “There’s a lot of opportunity for development. People join us in the early stages of their career and certainly progress throughout their career life.”

Riviera has worked with the AITC for the past six years in the apprentice program.

“They deliver fantastic apprentices who want to work with us and be part of our team,” says Adam. He heard about the AITC’s trade ready students “who want to get into a trade field, who want to work with their hands, and who want to work in our industry.” Adam felt this partnership would be the perfect fit.

“The AITC told us about the type of young people they have working there. They talked to us about the type of families who come to the AITC and we basically said — ‘We want these people!’.”

One of the other major benefits is that AITC apprentices work for block periods. “We get these young people for four, five, six, seven weeks at a time. Their ability to improve and take on the role and become part of the team is enhanced by the fact that we get them for that big chunk of time.”

Taking on an AITC apprentice Adam says, “we know we’re getting a young person who knows what they want. They know what part of industry they want to move into.”

Riviera offers nine different trades — “boat building, electrical, cabinet making, engineering, composite machinists, composite technicians. We offer apprenticeships in furniture finishing, as well as spray painting, and boiler-making.”

Blake Rotheram, Year 12, is a first-year apprentice engineer at Riviera, “We build boats, and they’re something to be really proud of.”

He believes Riviera provides an outstanding apprentice training program and offers advice for young people thinking about this industry. “Apply yourself would be my best tip. Don’t sell yourself short. You can do a lot more than you think you can.”


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