Congratulations to the 11 winners and all the finalists of the Central Queensland region.

Thank you to everyone who attended the regional final, held on 1 July 2023 at Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre.

The winners will now represent their region at the state final on 9 September 2023 in Brisbane.

Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year

Winner: Caitlyn Barnes

Qualification: Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician
Training provider: CQUniversity Australia
Employer: BHP Coal

After deciding on a career as an electrician while at school, Caitlyn has worked at Goonyella Riverside Mine for the past four years completing an electrical apprenticeship and an Advanced Diploma of Applied Electrical Engineering. Receiving on-the-job training working on electric trucks and draglines, Caitlyn also takes part in the Girls Mentoring program. As a female in the industry, she is proud of the way she is shaping the future and nature of electrical work tasks.

Regional finalists

Gemma Riley, Certificate III in Electrotechnology / Certificate III in Instrumentation and Control
Mikaly Smith, Certificate III in Commercial Cookery

Bob Marshman Trainee of the Year

Winner: Tenelle Bird

Qualification: Certificate IV in Human Resources Management
Training provider: Asset Training Australia
Employer: Isaac Regional Council

Tenelle Bird recently completed a Certificate IV in Human Resources Management with Isaac Regional Council and is currently working as a people and capability officer in the learning and development team. Tenelle has strong team and communication skills and has assisted in updating processes and forms, as well as creating manuals for future trainees. She understands today's youth and has used that perspective to help council-run programs such as career days and the annual trainee intakes.

Regional finalists

Eddie Tiller, Certificate III in Live Production and Technical Services
Savannah Vella, Certificate III in Business

Vocational Student of the Year

Winner: Stacey Mason

Qualification: Diploma of Nursing
Training provider: CQUniversity Australia
Employer: Queensland Health – Rockhampton Base Hospital

Stacey Mason was inspired to pursue a career in nursing to be a positive role model for her children and to provide compassionate patient care based on her own experiences. While on a wait list for a kidney transplant, Stacey enrolled in a Diploma of Nursing with CQUniversity Australia and graduated in December 2022. With support from her teachers and dedication to her goal, Stacey excelled in her studies and is now working as an enrolled nurse at Rockhampton Base Hospital.

Regional finalists

Lochie Fuller, Certificate II in Autonomous Technologies
Michael Hepburn, Certificate III in Community Services

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year

Winner: Tayah Womal

Qualification: Certificate III in Business
Training provider: Australia Trade Training College
Employer: BMA Coal Operations

Tayah Womal seized a school-based traineeship opportunity with BMA Broadmeadows Mine excelling and securing full-time employment, a great outcome for a young person working with BMA. Tayah expanded her administration skills by working in different departments, including going into the underground mine. She inspires others, promotes teamwork, and actively engages in community roles while sharing her experience to encourage others into similar pathways.

Regional finalist

Quentin Robertson, Certificate III in Civil Construction

School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year

Winner: Abby-Rose Bowman

Qualification: Certificate III in Automotive Electrical Technology
Training provider: CQUniversity Australia
Employer: NQ Autosparks
School: Holy Spirit College

Knowing she wanted a trade career, Abby-Rose tried work experience in different fields, before settling on auto-electrics. Through Mas National and her employer, NQ Autosparks, Abby-Rose is completing a school-based apprenticeship studying a Certificate III in Automotive Electrical Technology. She values teamwork and communication, and aims to inspire younger generations including young women looking to enter the industry.

Regional finalists

Copelan Smith, Certificate II in Animal Studies
Charlotte Sneyd, Certificate III in Dental Assisting

Equity Student of the Year

Winner: Sharon Atkinson

Qualification: Certificate III in Work Health and Safety
Training provider: Ballistic Training Solutions
Employer: Central Highlands Regional Council

Sharon Atkinson pursued her passion for work health and safety through a traineeship after a 20-year career as a chef. Completing her Certificate III in Work Health and Safety in February 2023 with the Central Highlands Regional Council, she is now a safety mentor. As a person who is hard of hearing, Sharon accessed assistive technologies and managed communication difficulties to complete her studies and credits her success to her resilience, independence, and a supportive team.

Regional finalists

Gracie Lynn Blanchfield, Certificate II in Engineering Pathways
Jayden Chen, Certificate III in Business

VET Teacher or Trainer of the Year

Winner: Trudy Berry

Employer: Sarina State High School

Trudy Berry is a highly-qualified and passionate VET teacher at Sarina State High School with a strong agricultural background in Wagyu cattle farming. Trudy is well known for her engagement, dedication and flexibility in the classroom. She has incorporated 2 new livestock preparation units into the school's scope, and implemented a change of structure to the Certificate II in Agriculture, helping students gain practical skills and knowledge working on local cattle properties.

Regional finalists

Rachel Legros, CQUniversity
Earl Neilsen, Axiom College

Community Training Initiative of the Year

Winner: Emerald Neighbourhood Centre

Program: Get Set for Work
(07) 4982 1696

The Emerald Neighbourhood Centre has been operating for over 40 years with a mission to support and strengthen the social well being of the community. It provides various programs and services, including emergency relief, and employment assistance through Get Set for Work. The centre welcomes everyone, builds connections with isolated and vulnerable individuals, and collaborates with other oganisations to meet community needs and ensure positive outcomes for participants.

Regional finalists

Apprentices and Trainees Queensland – Ignite Your Opportunities
CANEGROWERS Mackay – Haulout course: Supporting and creating employment opportunities for the sugar cane industry

Large Employer of the Year

Winner: NFR Holdings

NFR Holdings operates 5 McDonald's stores in Central Queensland as a family-owned business. Their focus on employee training and development includes a structured training program for all employees, paid on-the-job training, and a newly developed online learning platform. They also offer a Certificate III in Retail traineeship to develop employees' skills. McDonald's training is inclusive, comprehensive and ensures store staff, procedures and operations are at optimum performance.

Regional finalist

Queensland Alumina Limited

Medium Employer of the Year

Winner: RGM Maintenance Rockhampton
(07) 4923 1000

RGM Maintenance has over 10 years' experience providing vehicle sales, maintenance and service for the Rockhampton area. By integrating training into their business planning, they offer comprehensive training for all staff, including diagnostic and repair skills for various truck brands, customer service, and management. With an emphasis on apprenticeships and continuous skill development RGM fosters innovation in training delivery, and promotes equity and equal opportunities for all employees.

Regional finalist

Barcam Electrical Service

Small Employer of the Year

Winner: McCarthy Panel Works
(07) 4957 7548

McCarthy Panel Works is dedicated to the training and upskilling of the next generation in the collision repair industry. Initiating 31 apprentice agreements, including successful apprenticeships for individuals with disabilities, they prioritise quality and safety. They also identify skill gaps and offer role-specific courses to technicians, bridging the gap between apprentice learning and working with new technologies and equipment.

Regional finalists

Biloela Mechanical and Agricultural Services
Intuition The Art of Hair

Last updated 1 July 2023

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)