2020 NSW Training Awards Winners - Individual

Meet the Individual Award category winners of 2020.

2020 Apprentice of the Year and 2020 People’s Choice Apprentice of the Year

Joshua Nickl

Joshua Nickl

Qualification: Certificate III in Retail Baking (Combined)
Trained by: Canberra Institute of Technology
Employed by: Gumnut Patisserie Pty Ltd
Region: Illawarra & South East NSW Region

Pastry is Joshua’s life. He grew up in his parent’s patisserie so it’s no surprise he’s driven to follow in their footsteps.

Joshua has been privileged to train under some of the industry’s best pastry chefs at work and under world-renowned Dammika Hatharasinghe at CIT who pushes him above and beyond.

In 2018 Joshua topped his CIT class and won Most Outstanding Apprentice of All Trades.

Joshua regularly competes in industry competitions achieving Baking Association of Australia’s National Apprentice Pastry Chef of the Year, 2017. He dedicated his ‘spare’ time to train over 20 additional hours a week with The Australian Pastry Team. In 2019 they competed in France’s Coupe Du Monde placing sixth – Australia's best result yet.

Constantly seeking improvement, Joshua travelled to Europe on a working holiday learning new pastry skills and making life-long industry connections.

“As my career progresses, I’m excited to train and lead the pastry chefs of the future.”

2020 Trainee of the Year

Emily Jones

Emily Jones

Qualification: Certificate IV in Library and Information Services
Trained by: TAFE NSW
Employed by: ATEL Training Solutions
Hosted by: Greater Hume Council
Region: Riverina Region

Dreaming of a career where she could help others, Emily became a Customer/Library Service and Youth Development trainee for the Greater Hume Council while also studying teaching and completing her HSC.

Delighted to discover that libraries are the heart of the community, Emily brought her library into the 21st century instigating a social media plan and connecting young people to their services.

When Emily’s supervisor became ill, she took over the planning and implementation of a major youth arts event that attracted 250 young people to Henty. It won ‘Highly Commended’ at the NSW Youth Week awards.

Well-respected in her community, Emily has instigated four new youth advisory committees in the region. She’s now a full-time Youth Officer at the Greater Hume Council.

“Supporting these incredible young people has been a gift. It’s given me so much job satisfaction. I’m excited to know they’re growing into the best version of themselves.”

2020 People’s Choice Trainee of the Year

Reece Oldfield

Reece Oldfield

Qualification: Certificate III in Surface Extraction Operations
Trained by: Train 365 Indigenous Corporation
Employed by: Skillset
Hosted by: Moolarben Coal Operations Pty Ltd
Region: Western NSW Region

Originally employed in earthmoving, Reese realised mining required similar skills, but offered greater career development and work/life balance. Once qualified, he could transfer his skills to any mine worldwide! Now employed with Moolarben Coal, Reece recognises the immense value of practical training. He aims to continually better himself through education.

2020 School Based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year

Cassandra OCarroll

Cassandra O'Carroll

Qualification: Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management
Trained by: Kiama Community College
Employed by: HVTC Pty Ltd
Hosted by: Shoalhaven City Council
School: Bomaderry High School
Region: Illawarra & South East NSW Region

Cassandra is thrilled to be undertaking her school-based traineeship in the threatened species department of environmental services at Shoalhaven City Council.

During the recent bushfires, Cassandra applied the scientific skills she’d learnt at Kiama Community College to help injured wildlife. She documented fatalities, epicormic regrowth after fire and compiled data on weed invasion, feral predation, sedimentation of creeks, and species proliferation.

As school captain of Bomaderry High School, Cassandra created the Sustainable Schools Competition where schools compete for prizes by undertaking eco-friendly initiatives.

A National Parks Wildlife Services volunteer, Cassandra was a speaker at Nowra’s school strike for a climate change rally, a joint recipient of the Victor Chang Science Award, and a participant in the Sonder Youth Leadership Program.

“I would highly recommend VET as it boosts your employability and gives you practical training. Most importantly, you meet new people who’ll open doors and help you on your way to success.”

2020 People’s Choice School Based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year

Theodore Scholl

Theodore Scholl

Qualification: Certificate II in Warehousing Operations
Trained by: TAFE NSW
Employed by: Richmond Valley Council
School: St Mary's Catholic College, Casino
Region: North Coast & Mid North Coast Region

Theodore chose a SBAT in warehousing because he wanted to challenge himself in an unfamiliar industry. As storekeeper for Richmond Valley Council, he enjoys the role’s variety and his connection to the community. Winner of multiple leadership awards, Theodore seeks to be the change

2020 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year

Janaya Milgate

Janaya Milgate

Qualificaiton: Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
Trained by: Early Childhood Training & Resource Centre (ECTARC)
Employed by: Farran Street Pty Ltd
Region: Central & Northern Sydney Region

When Janaya’s parents fostered four babies, her life changed forever. She tells people that ‘childcare chose her.’

After caring for four babies, Janaya thought she knew everything. When she started her traineeship at Farran Street Childcare, her eyes were truly opened!

Her motto is: ‘teamwork makes the dream work.’ She loves observing her team so she can learn from them. She takes pride in being a positive influence, modelling manners, acceptance and self-love.

Over 36 months she gained her Certificate III and Diploma qualifications.

As Farran Street’s Indigenous liaison, Janaya ensures everyone has a deep understanding of Indigenous culture.

Having battled anxiety and depression, Janaya has learned self-care – her childcare career has been her best medicine.

“I’m an Indigenous girl from a small country town. There’s a stereotype that we’re either teen mothers or young offenders. I want to show my community that we can be more than a statistic.”

2020 People’s Choice Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year

Raymond Steadman

Raymond Steadman

Qualificaiton: Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
Trained by: International Child Care College Pty Ltd
Employed by: Awabakal Preschool
Region: Hunter Region

Ear infections are a significant health issue for Aboriginal children. Raymond developed an innovative program to make children feel comfortable with doctors and is undertaking further studies so he can identify issues early. ‘Our children are our future. I’m privileged to help them have the best possible start in life.’

2020 Vocational Student of the Year

Jon Frost

Jon Frost

Qualification: Certificate IV in Information Technology Support
Trained by: Australian College of Commerce and Management
Region: North Coast & Mid North Coast Region

Jon’s first role at Service NSW Taree involved educating the public on how technology could enrich their lives. It inspired him to take his passion for customer support and IT to the next level through VET.

As a full-time employee, Jon experienced time-management challenges studying online in a regional area. He often felt like giving up. However his trainer provided after-hours assessment, broke tasks down to manageable chunks and kept him motivated by celebrating wins.

Jon formed strong links with his community through Rotary and grass roots engagement to champion and promote Service NSW’s offerings. As a result, Jon was awarded the 2018 Service NSW ‘DNA CEO Award.’

After gaining his qualification, Jon was promoted to Service NSW’s new Product Digitalisation Team.

“Completing my certificate has changed my life and helped me realise my dream career. Through determination, focus and support, you can overcome barriers and achieve your goals.”

2020 VET Trainer/Teacher of the Year

Megan Renwick

Megan Renwick

Employed by: Public Schools NSW, Macquarie Park
Field of Study: Hospitality

In 2015, Megan realigned the hospitality program at Winmalee High School to create the innovative @thecaffeinelab, a student-led school cafe.

In one-year, hospitality enrolments grew from 41 to 149 students. The following year eight hospitality classes were offered with students attaining 1st and 4th in the state for their HSC Hospitality Method.

@thecaffeinelab is a valued part of the school’s culture. Local industry is impressed by the students’ vast skill set resulting in many student employment opportunities.

Winmalee High School enrols a diverse range of learners. Megan utilises peer mentorship and personal empowerment to inspire her students to reach their full potential. She ensured reasonable adjustments were in place to assist learners to meet the requirements for the qualification.

Megan now consults on similar programs in NSW schools.

“It’s my mission to create a safe and meaningful work environment where every student can develop their confidence, feel empowered and achieve success.”

2020 VET in Schools Student of the Year

Peyton Bennet

Peyton Bennet

Qualification: Certificate II in Hospitality
Trained by: Public Schools NSW, Macquarie Park
School: Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College, The Entrance Campus
Region: Central Coast Region

Peyton has been creating cake recipes since she was 12 with a dream of opening her own store. VET is helping her make that dream a reality.

Peyton has put her hospitality skills to good practice at Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College’s cafes, making coffees for subject selection nights, principals breakfasts and helping cook and serve at school events.

A confident, quick learner, Peyton has demonstrated leadership abilities in the commercial kitchen and food service areas. Training has opened up work experience opportunities and, importantly, job prospects.

At the age of 11, Peyton was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. She works harder than others to complete simple tasks. She’s proud of achieving an A and B grade average.

“I’ve found great strength in my studies and the amazing support from my educators. Just because people with learning difficulties find things harder doesn’t mean we’re any less capable of succeeding in VET.”

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