2022 NSW Training Awards Winners

Meet the Award category winners of 2022.

Individual Awards Winners

2022 NSW Apprentice of the Year

Winner: Lachlan Butler

Qualification: Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade

Trained by: Gimbal Engineering

Employed by: Boss Engineering Pty Ltd

Region: New England

Having grown up on a farm, Lachlan discovered a natural affinity for metal work and a love of working with his hands. Embarking on his Certificate III in Engineering Lachlan specialised in the fabrication trade.

Flourishing in his apprenticeship with BOSS Engineering, Lachlan quickly made himself invaluable, proving to be a dextrous team leader able to easily switch from one speciality to the next, all while managing complex family matters.

A passionate advocate for addressing the skills shortage in rural Australia, Lachlan is keen to encourage others to pursue a trade career through VET, finding the hands-on training VET provided to be world class.

“Skills training in Australia is extremely important. Our country’s future is dependent on people like myself who have gone through an apprenticeship. Being involved in an apprenticeship allows you to create and be involved in an environment that is supportive and a community that is all inclusive.”

Name Region

Daniel Arroyo

Illawarra and South East NSW

Jonathon O’Connor

Noth Coast & Mid North Coast

Lachlan Butler

New England

Liam Barber

South & South Western Sydney

Lucinda Shilcock

Hunter & Central Coast

Oswald Herman


2022 NSW Trainee of the Year

Winner: Mellanie Sutton

Qualification: Certificate IV in Local Government – Health & Environment

Trained by: Arrow Collaborative Services Ltd

Employed by: Muswellbrook Shire Council

Region: Hunter & Central Coast

“I wanted to embark on a career that would continually challenge me…”

Mellanie began her traineeship at Muswellbrook Shire Council (MSC) as a trainee Environmental Health Officer. Whilst acquiring a diverse set of skills, Mellanie used her traineeship to help keep the community safe and move confidently towards her dream career.

Completing a Certificate IV in Local Government, specialising in Health & Environment, Mellanie found the mixture of skills required in this field to be exactly the right challenge.

Amongst the tasks within her traineeship, Mellanie identified businesses that were offering food service or skin penetration (such as acupuncture) to ensure their Government registration and compliance with health standards.

During her traineeship, Mellanie used existing software skills to help streamline processes within MSC, improving efficiency for a range of everyday procedures.

“I am a passionate driver in promoting vocational education, and believe continuous learning can provide a healthier, happier lifestyle.”

Name Region

Ammaleah Astruc

Western Sydney & Blue Mountains

Charlie Grimshaw

North Coast & Mid North Coast

Harvey Billingham

Central & Northern Sydney

Mellanie Sutton

Hunter & Central Coast

Shaun Tobin

New England

Taylor Vandijk

Southern & South Western Sydney

2022 NSW School Based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year

Winner: Tahli Gleeson

Qualification: Certificate II in Agriculture

Trained by: Public Schools NSW, Tamworth

Employed by: Local Land Services

Region: Hunter & Central Coast

Nearing the end of her schooling, Tahli wanted to choose a career she was passionate about.

Farming and agriculture had always been a big part of Tahli’s life and she accepted a role as a school-based trainee with Local Land Services while enrolled in a Certificate II Agriculture qualification.

Throughout her traineeship, Tahli was exposed to numerous facets of agriculture and farming, both practical and operational.

She displayed an outstanding work-ethic and a ‘get it done’ attitude, applying herself with gusto to both administration and practical farming tasks.

With an expanded resume and her Certificate II qualification in-hand, Tahli knows that VET was a great career choice.

“VET is such a practical training pathway and full of opportunities... I now have further job qualifications and a supportive group of work colleagues and industry mentors to help me on my career journey to achieve my goal of working in agriculture.”

Name Region

Tahli Gleeson

Hunter & Central Coast

Tara Vickery

New England

Teagan Nicholson

Illawarra & South East NSW

2022 NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year

Winner: Jade Barrington

Qualification: Certificate II in Business Services

Trained by: The Illawarra ITec Ltd

Employed by: NSW Department of Education

Host Employer: Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council

Region: Illawarra & South East NSW

During her HSC years, Jade undertook a school-based traineeship to support her entry into university.

With hopes of becoming a Primary School Teacher, Jade studied a Certificate II in Business Services; gaining invaluable knowledge, experience and confidence through working with the NSW Department of Education.

Volunteering her time to tutor younger students at the Wreck Bay Community Centre, Jade has an obvious passion for teaching and strives to be a role-model to the younger members of her community.

An exemplary student that applies herself to every task, Jade is a proud representative of her community, committed to bringing out the best in those under her care.

“As a proud Aboriginal (First Nations) Woman I have been a member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Representative Council (SRC), I have supported (Mentored) younger students at school, I volunteered at Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council Homework Centre to support the learning of younger students and worked with Waminda.”

Name Region

Deleila Roberts

North Coast & Mid North Coast

Jade Barrington

Illawarra & South East NSW

Juliane Latu

Southern & South Western Sydney

2022 NSW Vocational Student of the Year

Winner: Casey Fox

Qualification: Certificate IV in Training & Assessment

Trained by: St George & Sutherland Community College

Employed by: St George & Sutherland Community College

Region: Southern & South Western Sydney

“I never thought I would be back in the classroom as a mum of toddler twins approaching 40. That is where I ended up last year between COVID lockdowns.”

When Casey found herself out of work during the COVID-19 pandemic, she boldly used the opportunity to pursue a Certificate IV in Training & Assessment with St George and Sutherland Community College (SGSCC).

Before the pandemic, Casey was balancing a well-established career and being a stay-at-home mum. Feeling unsure of herself and what her future held, Casey decided to undertake VET to formalise her experience into a nationally recognised qualification.

Casey reconnected with her love of learning and was such an exceptional student that she was offered a permanent trainer position with SGSCC.

Through her decision to undertaking further education as busy mum, and with the support of her family, Casey has received: a formal qualification, an exciting career change, and a new lease on life.

“It has given me a lease on life that I haven’t felt since my days on the retail shop floor and has truly cemented that training people, coaching them, and helping them grow, is where I find satisfaction.”

Name Region

Casey Fox

South & South Western Sydney

Mathew MacGregor

Illawarra & South East NSW

Sara Morgan

North Coast & Mid North Coast

2022 NSW VET Trainer/Teacher of the Year

Winner: Clint Giddings

Field of Study: Construction

Employed by: Public Schools NSW, Wagga Wagga

Region: Western NSW

Clint is a well-respected teacher of Construction at Blayney High School, where he applies himself wholeheartedly to encouraging his students’ success. Clint is an outstanding teacher and an inspirational ambassador for Vocational Education and Training (VET).

As SBAT Coordinator and Careers Advisor at Blayney High School, Clint has worked closely with Skillset, a local recruitment and employment provider, helping improve and develop VET pathways for his students.

Clint led the charge in devising and preparing a submission for his students to build a Construction Cottage training facility, under the supervision of a local builder, to improve Construction training delivery.

From conceptualising and delivering innovative learning initiatives, to implementing meaningful changes to the delivery of VET, Clint is unmistakably exceptional in his role as a VET coordinator, making a positive difference in the lives of his students and the local community.

“The last 3 years I have begun with cohorts of students numbering 20 or more. In that time, we have had 91% of these students transition from school to employment as an apprentice or trainee in the VET sector.”

Name Region

Clint Giddings

Western NSW

Jill Clayton

Hunter & Central Coast

Luke Smith

Western Sydney & Blue Mountains

2022 NSW VET in Schools Student of the Year

Winner: Stella Cox

Qualification: Certificate III in Health Services Assistance

Trained by: NSW Health RTO

Region: Southern & South Western Sydney

Whilst fulfilling her duties as Vice-Captain of Strathfield Girls High School, Stella enrolled in a Certificate III in Health Services Assistance with NSW Health.

Dedicated to completing the HSC, Stella saw VET in Schools as an opportunity to have the best of both worlds. VET allowed Stella to pursue an academic pathway, whilst benefiting from real-world experience and gaining a qualification in her chosen profession of nursing.

Stella, the third generation in her family to pursue a career in nursing, hopes to specialise in midwifery.

Despite the significant responsibility of caring for her wheelchair-dependant mother, Stella is unstoppable. She has displayed wisdom, maturity and determination.

“I have allowed my caring journey to not define my life but to shape it and help me use my passion for caring for others to channel it into a lifelong and rewarding career in the community.”

Name Region

Nathan Turner

Central & Northern Sydney

Sophie Hobden

New England

Stella Cox

Southern & South Western Sydney

Organisation Awards Winners

2022 NSW Industry Collaboration Award

Winner: Macquarie Employment Training Services (METS), Disability Services Australia and The William Inglis Hotel

Collaboration Title: Macquarie Employment Training Services (METS), Disability Services Australia and The William Inglis Hotel: LearnAbility

When the Macquarie Employment Training Services (METS) came together with Disability Services Australia and The William Inglis Hotel in Warwick Farm to provide training and employment opportunities to students with learning difficulties or disabilities, they had no idea just how successful the program would be.

A greater than 90% completion rate has occurred through the LearnAbility program, and employment offered to participants.

The LearnAbility program was designed to help students into employment, and to satisfy the need to fill skills gaps in the hospitality industry.

To assist with this, targeted job roles were identified, and appropriate units of competency were determined to match each role with suitable training, contextualised and customised for people with learning difficulties and disabilities.

Since the program began, General Manager of The William Inglis, David Criss, has been able to share a video of the LearnAbility program, (filmed for METS) and in doing so has raised interest from the Accor Group globally.

2022 NSW Large Employer of the Year

Winner: Komatsu

Komatsu is a global manufacturer and distributor of earthmoving and mining equipment.

Recently celebrating the company’s 100th anniversary, Komatsu have spent the past century dedicated to its founding principles: quality first, technology and manufacturing innovation, global reach and people development.

Looking toward the next 100 years, Komatsu’s focus will be on the industries they serve and transforming to the digital workplace of the future, through smart technologies, equipment and people.

In 2010, Komatsu Australia introduced its innovative apprenticeship scheme, the Apprentice Development System (ADS), to promote more “well-rounded” apprentices and trainees, who have the trade, life and people skills for satisfying long-term careers within Komatsu Australia and the broader industry.

Through ADS, Komatsu also supports a mental health program for apprentices, giving them access to clinical phycologist services, to ensure each employee thrives in the workplace, and in their personal life. Komatsu also offers its wider team the Employee Assistance Program, to look after their mental, physical, social, and financial well-being.

Since 2009, over 600 apprentices and trainees have participated in the ADS program.

Innovatively nurturing the next generation of tradespeople, Komatsu’s Apprentice Development System, has set new national standards for the way industry trains its apprentices and trainees, and has become a benchmark for training nationwide.

2022 NSW Small Employer of the Year

Winner: Morgan Engineering

Morgan Engineering are true innovators. Specialising in engineering, CAD drafting, large capacity CNC Machining, on-site machining and heavy fabrication, Morgan Engineering not only provide the engineering sector with high-quality products and services, but they also equip their workforce with comprehensive training, and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

Headquartered in Singleton since 1975, Morgan Engineering has grown from a small engineering shop to one of the most extensive in the Hunter Valley.

Supporting a culture of continuous improvement, Morgan Engineering, in association with Gimbal Training, are responsible for the creation of a niche apprentice training program that specifically deals with the requirement for line-borers on-site.

By developing this program, Morgan Engineering have reduced the need to hire sub- contractors, protecting their company culture and giving employees and apprentices the chance for career development by increasing their skill-base and qualifications.

Morgan Engineering have successfully developed a culture of active learning which ultimately improves productivity, staff engagement, employee retention, and customer satisfaction.

Focused on delivering a fast and reliable service using state of the art equipment, Morgan Engineering lives up to their motto: “we’ll make it happen”, delivering outstanding care to both their customers and their workforce.

2022 NSW Large Training Provider of the Year

Winner: ECTARC

ECTARC is a dynamic, community-owned, not-for-profit Registered Training Organisation (RTO), that specialises in early childhood training and professional development.

As a leading RTO, with a vision of enriching futures for children, families, students and communities, ECTARC has built an enviable reputation for high-quality training. Boasting strong connections across the sector, ECTARC design and develop interactive and engaging training programs.

Embracing market-leading technologies, ECTARC pride themselves on their student-centred approach to early childhood training, committed to delivering a productive and highly skilled workforce.

ECTARC has also recently partnered with Illawarra YES (Youth Employment Strategy) Program, to offer pre-vocational training to local unemployed youth, as a pathway to traineeships.

ECTARC has a proud history of working closely with Aboriginal communities and has undertaken specific funded programs for Aboriginal students to complete qualifications with high completion rates. ECTARC currently has 71 Aboriginal students studying in 44 services across NSW – ensuring growth in the number of Aboriginal educators in the sector.

ECTARC’s approach to training is extensive, inclusive and respectful. By developing industry-leading, interactive and engaging training programs, ECTARC continues to be a ‘go-to’ early childhood training provider for both the industry, and government agencies.

2022 NSW Small Training Provider of the Year

Winner: Academy of Film, Theatre & Television (AFTT)

For nearly 20 years the Academy of Film Television & Theatre (AFTT) has helped launch countless careers in the creative arts industry.

From acting through to production roles, across the film, television and theatre industries, AFTT are both passionate and innovative in the way they create their learning environment.

To help students thrive in a competitive industry, AFTT partnered with practicing industry professionals and has developed an engaging program of training, allowing students to gain practical skills and insight into expected industry standards and protocols.

In addition to the learning resources AFTT provide students, the provision of a Fellowship Fund has been established to aid students with immediate struggles and to help them stay on track with their studies. The fund offers students essential support such as mental health support, medical support, minor financial assistance, rent assistance, temporary accommodation, food vouchers and public transport support.

Complemented by training in resilience, ethical behaviour and managing themselves in a professional, financial and business sense, the AFTT is dedicated to developing creative professionals that are well-rounded, versatile and dynamic.

Actively pursuing the best professional outcomes for students past and present, AFTT are staunch advocates for the creative arts industry. Leading by example AFTT strive for the creative arts to be valued and recognised as involving, “real education, real work, real commitment, real energy, real talent and real resilience.”

Special Industry Awards Winners

2022 Women in Trades

Winner: Lucinda Shilcock

Qualification: Certificate III in Electrotechnology - Electrician

Trained by: TAFE NSW

Employed by: Novaskill

Host Employer: GBE Group

Region: Hunter & Central Coast

Growing up on a farm, Lucinda’s desire to become an Electrician evolved naturally from a love of working with her hands, a penchant for design and an affinity for teamwork.

After embarking on a Certificate III with TAFE NSW, Lucinda had to overcome personal trauma and a learning difficulty in order to succeed in her apprenticeship.

Thanks to Lucinda’s tenacity and the visual, hands-on learning style that VET provided, Lucinda excelled throughout her apprenticeship and is proud to say she’s now a qualified electrician.

Crediting the unwavering support and dedication shown to her through her TAFE teachers and host employer, GBE, Lucinda confidently begins her career with a strong foundation.

Selected to speak at the Women In Trades event at Kotara High School, Lucinda has not only proved to be a skilled electrician, but a captivating role-model to women and the Aboriginal community.

2022 NSW Encouragement Award

Winner: Jonathon O'Connor

Qualification: Certificate III in Hospitality – Commercial Cookery

Trained by: TAFE NSW

Employed by: Yamba Shores Tavern

Region: North Coast & Mid North Coast

Jonathon’s love of cooking inspired him to embark on a Certificate III of Commercial Cookery at TAFE NSW. With the support and encouragement of his teachers and mentors, Jonathon has proven to be both a talented chef and a natural leader.

Overcoming both mental health challenges and the struggle of learning with dyslexia, Jonathon thrived during his study and right throughout his apprenticeship, buoyed by his ability to learn with the visual and hands-on approach that VET provided him. The anxiety that had troubled Jonathon throughout high-school learning was gone, and he was able to flourish and excel on the path towards his dream career.

After representing TAFE NSW at World Skills Championship and winning a silver medal, as well as being named a finalist in the Proud to be Chef competition, Jonathon has proven to be a promising young chef with a recipe for success.


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