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2019 NSW Training Awards winners announced

A carpentry apprentice who displays great leadership qualities and a trainee with a passion for sports education have taken out top honours at the 2019 NSW Training Awards held last night at the Sydney Town Hall.

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee congratulated Nelson Florimo from Long Jetty on being named Apprentice of the Year and Samuel Heffernan from Wagga Wagga on taking out the Trainee of the Year award.

“Nelson’s dad, Greg Florimo, was an outstanding rugby league player and Nelson was following in his father’s footsteps until serious injury forced him to give up the game aged 18 and that led him to discover a passion for carpentry,” Mr Lee said.

”Nelson demonstrated leadership qualities throughout his apprenticeship beginning with the construction of a Newcastle light rail stop.

“In the third year of his apprenticeship, he was part of the leadership team on a $4 million aged care project after the foreman left, and later on a $9 million project for which he was also the ‘face’ of the construction site,” Mr Lee said.

Nelson said he was “drawn towards construction” early on in life.

“I knew I wanted to build things since I was a kid. The carpentry apprenticeship just felt right and I set my goals right from the start,” he said.

Mr Lee said Trainee of the Year award winner Samuel Heffernan was such an outstanding sports education trainee that the Catholic Education Office in Wagga Wagga offered him a teacher support role when he completed his traineeship.

“Like Nelson, Samuel displayed outstanding leadership skills during his traineeship in organising and running sporting carnivals for 32 schools,” Mr Lee said.

Samuel said he enjoyed his traineeship that involved working full-time and training online which empowered him to become a self-motivated, independent learner.

“I was constantly challenged and that allowed me to test and use the new skills I developed in a wide range of jobs. One day I would be working with an accountant or the HR team, the next with the IT team, administration team or even teachers. I was immersed in so many fields and as a result I learnt so much,” he said.

Mr Lee also congratulated the winners of the other award categories saying they are living proof of the great personal and career benefits that vocational education and training (VET) can bring.

The NSW Training Award winners will now represent the state at the Australian Training Awards in Brisbane in November.

Winners of the 2019 NSW Training Awards

Winner name


Trained by


VET course


Nelson Florimo

Apprentice of the Year


North Construction & Building P/L

Cert III – Carpentry

Long Jetty (Central Coast)

Samuel Heffernan

Trainee of the Year


Catholic Education Diocese, Wagga Wagga

Cert III – Sport, Fitness and Recreation

Wagga Wagga

Arcadia Meldrum

School Based Apprentice/ Trainee of the Year

Trustees of the Roman Catholic Church (Lismore Diocese)

TH Hospitality Services

Cert III – Tourism

Port Macquarie

Kelsey Commons

VET in Schools Student of the Year

Southern Cross Vocational College

Photographic Memory

Cert III – Live Production and Services


Christian Fritze

Vocational Student of the Year

Joblink Plus Training

2340 Barber Shop

Cert III – Barbering


Jesamin Joyce

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year

Australian College of Commerce & Management

ANZ Banking Group

Cert II – Business

Kiama Downs

Karyn Downs

Woman in non-Traditional Trade

Endeavour Energy

Endeavour Energy

Cert III – ESI Power Systems, Distribution Overhead

Mount Annan

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