For Leigh Thompson, qualifications from the Australian Maritime College have unlocked each stage of his career – from ashore shipping agent to Master at sea.
From playing water sports as a kid to being an avid sailor, Leigh Thompson has always felt at home in the water.
But it wasn’t until he attended a careers expo at the University of Tasmania’s Australian Maritime College (AMC) that he set his mind on a career in the oceans.
“I grew up in Hobart with a youthful interest in adventure and travel,” Leigh said.
“I discovered the AMC at an open day and enrolled in a Bachelor of Maritime Logistics Management and commenced studying first year out of high school.
“The AMC was the natural choice as it provided academic as well as practical skills and training from marine skilled experts to assist the creation of a budding career in a truly global field.”
While a job in port operations carried Leigh north to Queensland, he’s never strayed far from his alma mater and fellow classmates.
“I worked in Brisbane for a few years as a shipping agent/port operations officer and then decided I wanted to embrace my inner adventurer and pursue a life at sea.
“Hence, I went back to the AMC and completed my Bachelor of Nautical Science (Deck) in conjunction with completing a full cadetship with a sponsored company (Teekay shipping Australia)
“I studied at the AMC for a total of seven years and there are too many unforgettable memories to remark on, however, the lifelong friendships and world-class educational facilities are worth a special mention!
“I am proud to say I have an international network of friends – some of whom I am still in daily contact with.”
It’s this global network of like-minded peers that continues to pay dividends for Leigh in his downtime.
“Working globally fly-in-fly-out with my current arrangement allows me extended leave annually.
“Now that the worst of covid has passed, I am hoping to use some of that leave to re-engage international travel for pleasure to see my AMC friends and make new ones. The time off also allows me time for professional development such as volunteering (Mission to Seafarers) and additional career training”
He said it was his work experience combined with his first degree with the AMC that allowed him to land a sponsored cadetship, launching him directly into an at sea role.
“I hold a Master Class One Certificate of Competency am currently working for Teekay Shipping Australia as a Chief Officer and have been very fortunate to have recently taken my first command as Relief Master on a new ship.
“I feel privileged to have been involved in some exciting projects for my company including, just in this year, a drydocking in Singapore and commissioning a new ship in Spain and sailing it home to Australia via the Panama Canal. The knowledge from the AMC has been a base for a fruitful and fulfilling career.
“One of the pleasures of being Master was organising a ‘family day’ whereby some of my closest friends from the AMC came down to the ship with their families so their kids would have a day to remember and, who knows, maybe one day encourage them to follow a career in the maritime industry.”
If a career at sea sounds like the life for you, take a look at the courses on offer at the Australian Maritime College.