2018 NSW Training Awards Winners

2018 NSW Training Awards Winners

Last night we celebrated the 2018 NSW Training Awards. From a trainee mixing on-the-job training with her HSC, to a mature-age apprentice killing it on his second trade, our winners will inspire you. Read their stories of success through vocational education and training (VET) and then open the door to hundreds of opportunities.

Apprentice of the Year – Michael Edwards

After 15 years as a motor mechanic, mature-age apprentice Michael was given the opportunity by his employer, Snowy Hydro Limited, to take on a second trade. He completed a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician with acclaim, taking out the TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga Campus apprentice of the year in 2017.

Michael displays exemplary commitment as a mature-age apprentice with a young family, and is described as an “extremely valuable” employee due to his double qualification. Snowy Hydro is now looking to help qualify him further for his work with a Certificate IV in Industrial Automation and Diploma of Electrical Engineering.

Trainee of the Year – Tara Proberts-Roberts

Early on, Tara’s supervisors on the WestConnex New M5 project recognised her potential and ability to excel when challenged. The Sydney-based civil construction trainee, who had worked previously in banking and childcare, continues to impress with her hunger to learn.

She’s complemented her Certificate II in Civil Construction studies with extra tickets and plant training, and plans to continue her education through VET.

A proud Aboriginal woman, Tara is a role model for her family and community, and thrilled with her life’s direction. “I will tell anyone to get a job in construction—it has changed the way I look at myself, my confidence and self-worth.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year – Tarnisha Winsor

Running the 2017 NAIDOC celebrations for the Upper Hunter Shire Council has been the pinnacle of Merriwa Central School Year 12 student Tarnisha’s blossoming career so far.

The 17-year-old school captain and SRC president was also the recipient of the Peter Hilder Memorial Award for an Indigenous VET student, and the Upper Hunter Shire Young Citizen of the Year 2018.

She credits her opportunities, accolades and growing confidence to her school based traineeship with the council and Certificate II in Business through Tamworth Public Schools. “I feel overwhelmed by the community’s faith in me and the encouragement I’ve received.”

School-based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year – Lucy Allen

“Nursing is an industry where I go home knowing I have made some sort of difference in someone’s life,” says 18-year-old Lucy, who is undertaking a school based traineeship for a Certificate III  in Health Services Assistance through TAFE NSW Hunter RTO.

Employed by Hunter New England Local Health District, the Maitland Grossman High School student is, “often mistaken for a registered nurse due to her knowledge and maturity level,” says manager Martin Losurdo. Lucy, too, feels she has found her calling and is excited for future opportunities through VET. “A traineeship is the most perfect way to incorporate school, work and working towards a qualification.”

VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year – Belinda Maudson

Sydney-based Belinda has spent 13 years teaching Illustration and Production Design at TAFE NSW’s Design Centre Enmore. From supervising students until 2 am to make the opening deadline for VIVID Sydney, to organising an intimate Q&A session with the production designer of acclaimed television series Games of Thrones, her dedication, initiative and ‘never say no’ approach shines through.

Belinda has developed customised courses to meet skills gaps in the entertainment industry, and works tirelessly to leverage her professional relationships within film, television, theatre and events to deliver the skills, support and opportunities students

VET in Schools Student of the Year – Kieran Sullivan

Kieran has not only shone in his studies for Certificates II and III in Agriculture, the 18-year-old Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School boarding school prefect is now confident enough to help others learn. In 2017, Kieran won the Arthur Heath Memorial Scholarship for outstanding results in agriculture and scored a University of New England industry placement scholarship with a veterinary research company.

This year he was an associate judge at Armidale Cattle Show. Kieran says what has impacted him most from his study is the necessity for sustainability in agriculture, and to understand the effects of chemical use on the environment.

Vocational Student of the Year – Katayoon Karimodini

Katayoon (Kathy) finished her Diploma in Community Services through TAFE NSW in 2017 with outstanding results. Described as reliable and caring with a great sense of humour, Kathy, an Iranian immigrant now living on the Central Coast, works part-time as a multicultural social support coordinator and volunteers at Northern Women’s Health Centre and Wesley Mission.

Her qualification taught her that self-care when dealing with the problems of others is critical.

“I learnt that I should recognise my strengths and weaknesses, identify my needs, set a target, make a plan, ask for help and find out all the options, then just keep going and never give up.”

Phil Darby Memorial Award – Encouragement Award for Apprentice or Trainee – Michelle Brown

It was TAFE NSW’s practical, ‘hands on’ style of learning that prompted Michelle, a disability support worker and former teacher, to undertake a Diploma of Visual Arts in 2017.

Determined to develop her confidence and creativity, the 46-year-old was quick to make a positive impression on her teachers and fellow students. This was only heightened when Michelle, who lives with multiple sclerosis, experienced a worsening of her condition and became confined to a wheelchair. True to her nature, Michelle used these events as a source of inspiration, and developed a body of work that saw her earn attention and acclaim in the creative sector. Today’s she’s proud to call herself an ‘emerging artist’.

Michelle was selected as an artist for ‘Front Up’, a workshop for artists living with disability run by the Art Gallery of NSW, and earned a residency at the Little Orange Arts Studio in the Campbelltown Arts Centre. Michelle credits the skills and confidence she gained through VET for the accolades she has achieved to date as an artist in the Greater Western Sydney region.

Special Award for a Woman in a Non-Traditional Trade or Vocation – Tayla Constable

Working in the physically demanding, male-dominated rural contracting industry in Central West NSW, Tayla has drawn strength, conviction and inspiration from her agricultural studies at TAFE NSW. She has also used her studies to help build a successful rural contracting business.

As a child on the mid-north coast, Tayla would follow her grandfather around on her family’s small acreage, helping him tend the horses and fix flood crossings. She knew early on that agriculture was her passion and future. As a young woman, she moved to Tamworth then Coolah and worked hard — often for less than award — to establish a reputation in the industry.

Tayla chose TAFE NSW for the expertise and flexibility it affords, allowing her to continue working as she expanded her knowledge and competency. Having completed Certificate III in Agriculture and Certificate IV in Agriculture and a Diploma in Agriculture, Tayla is now working towards an Advanced Diploma of Agribusiness Management. She believes VET plays an integral role in the future of the industry.