A HUNTER TAFE Foundation scholarship, such as the Barker Maritime Scholarship, can help one person to further their education and improve their maritime career prospects.

Open to anyone who works for a company that utilises the Port of Newcastle, the Barker Maritime Scholarship encourages people employed in the maritime industry to further their education at TAFE NSW.

This means greater opportunities for local seafarers such as Nik Payne from The Hill. Mr Payne was the winner of last year’s Barker Maritime Scholarship.

Mr Payne has been a commercial tug boat captain on Newcastle Harbour for five years. He is currently sailing as a qualified officer on one of the biggest container ships in the world, sailing between Singapore, Malaysia, China and Korea to gain the sea time he needs to achieve a Master Mariner’s certificate.


“I decided to apply for the Barker Maritime Scholarship to support my plan to further my TAFE NSW maritime studies. Someone heard my story and my goals and rewarded me for it, and it has boosted my career,” he said.

“When you work hard for something because you’re passionate about it and someone acknowledges you for it, there’s no better motivation towards reaching your goal than it being reinforced that you’re on the right track.

“The scholarship was the next stepping stone needed to further my career to become a Master Mariner Unlimited, which is the pinnacle qualification in the Merchant Navy to becoming an Unlimited Captain,” Mr Payne said.

“I’m still very grateful to have won, I know a lot of applicants applied. It’s a fantastic award and I feel really fortunate to have achieved it. I would encourage anyone in the industry who is eligible to apply for it.”