The search is on for the Riverina’s best apprentices and trainees, at a time when trainees and apprentices are more likely to get full-time employment than university graduates.
Casella Wines apprentice Jackson Kirby said his nomination in 2016 gave him the pat on the back he needed to go on to bigger and better things.
He also found doors quickly opened to new opportunities.
“I felt like with my improvement that I’d actually achieved something. And it felt really good to be recognised,” Mr Kirby said.
“Once I found out I was nominated, I realised the effort I was putting in at TAFE was getting noticed.
“I’ve been able to win a scholarship to travel and work in London.”
Wagga mum Kirby Schultz already had a young family when she decided to pursue a career in human resources through a traineeship rather than going to university.
Despite the delicate balancing act, Ms Schultz was so successful she was named the Riverina’s Vocational Student of the Year in 2016.
“It really opened doors for me,” Ms Schultz said.
“The support I had from my family was amazing, my husband would take care of the kids while I did my work online at night.”
Riverina Vocational Education and Training Committee chair Wendy Cooper said the best and brightest were being sought to represent the region at the 2017 NSW Training Awards.
“The awards highlight the depth and diversity of talent and skill that exist in our state,” Mrs Cooper said.
“We encourage individuals and organisations to enter to acknowledge and celebrate their outstanding achievements. It underlines a commitment to quality of services and skills by local business and industry in the Riverina.”
Vocational education teacher Tom Pulver, who was named Teacher of the Year at last year’s awards, said for many students, university wasn’t the only option.
“The vast majority attend vocational education institutions to do a trade or work while they study,” Mr Pulver said.
“It meets the needs of so many students and they’re more engaged because they’re doing what interests them.”
Those entering the 2017 NSW Training Awards will need to meet certain eligibility requirements and complete an official entry form.
The closing date for entries is Friday, March 17.
For more information on the awards, visit www.training.nsw.gov.au.
Apprentices and trainees are more likely to be in full-time employment six months after finishing their course than university graduates.- Ben Foley
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