Congratulations to the winners and finalists of the Darling Downs South West region.

Winners were announced at the regional final on Friday, 29 July 2022.

Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year

Regional winner: James Christensen

Qualification: Certificate III in Electrotechnology / Certificate III in Instrumentation and Control
Training provider: TAFE Queensland
Employer: Stanwell Corporation

James Christensen is a dual trade-qualified technician, having completed both a Certificate III in Electrotechnology and a Certificate III in Instrumentation and Control in 2021.

An interest in technology and how it is applied to our everyday lives helped James find a passion for instrumentation and control, and his training pathway. Having finished his apprenticeship, he is now employed full-time at Tarong Power Station.

Regional finalists

Jack Cottier, Certificate III in Commercial Cookery
Mitchell Hawes, Certificate III in Meat Processing (Retail Butcher)

Bob Marshman Trainee of the Year

Regional winner: Millie Hauff

Qualification: Certificate III in Community Services
Training provider: Aurora Training Institute
Employer: Gateway To Training

Millie Hauff was looking for a career change when she came across the opportunity to complete a traineeship with Gateway To Training. Completing a Certificate lll in Community Services offered Millie the career she had been looking for, allowing her to support her peers and give back to her community.

Completing the traineeship has inspired Millie to expand her skills by commencing a Diploma of Community Services.

Regional finalists

Jamie Atkins, Certificate III in Business Administration
Ashleigh Rickert, Certificate IV in Business

Vocational Student of the Year

Regional winner: Jaimee Radke

Qualification: Certificate IV in Animal Control and Regulation
Training provider: UQ Skills
Employer: Western Downs Regional Council

Jaimee Radke is passionate about animals, and ensuring that they are protected and cared for properly. It was this passion that led her to undertake training in the area of animal management, as she wanted to help enforce the laws that support responsible pet ownership.

She completed her Certificate IV in Animal Control and Regulation in 2021 and gained employment with Western Downs Regional Council.

Regional finalists

Jack Campbell, Diploma of Civil Construction Management / Diploma of Project Management
Samantha McKechnie, Diploma of Business

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year

Regional winner: E'Kayla Clarris

Qualification: Certificate III in Work Health and Safety
Training provider: Harness Energy Services
Employer: Harness Energy Services

E’Kayla Clarris is a proud Bigambul and Kamilaroi woman. She completed a Certificate III in Work Health and Safety (WHS) through the Harness Energy’s Western Downs Indigenous Traineeship program.

E’Kayla is a passionate advocate for the opportunities provided by training and believes traineeships offer a unique way to get a taste for an industry you might not be familiar with. She is now studying a Certificate IV in Business.

Regional finalists

Ashleigh Rickert, Certificate IV in Business
Ruby Watson, Certificate III in Work Health and Safety

School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year

Regional winner: Chloe Hatton

Qualification: Certificate III in Education Support
Training provider: Australian Child Care Career Options
Employer: Toowoomba Grammar School
School: The Glennie School

Chloe Hatton is passionate about supporting children to achieve their goals. Though still in high school herself, she wanted to get a head start on her education career and decided to undertake a school-based traineeship.

Once she has completed her Certificate III in Education Support she will have gained the necessary skills for employment as a teacher aide. She plans to continue her studies at university.

Regional finalists

Josephine Beveridge, Certificate III in Individual Support
Georgia Mailman, Certificate III in Fitness

Equity VET Student of the Year

Regional winner: Sadiki Kimba

Qualification: Certificate III in Business
Training provider: Business Success Group
Employer: EMC Training

After completing a school-based traineeship in 2021 with EMC Training, Sadiki was able to use his Certificate III in Business to study a Bachelor of Business at the University of Southern Queensland, something he thought may be out of reach as English is not his first language.

The traineeship has provided Sadiki with valuable skills and supported his goal to become a business owner one day.

Regional finalists

Sebastian Curtis, Certificate II in Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways
Cristina Lander, Certificate I in Hospitality

VET Teacher or Trainer of the Year

Regional winner: Ann Nitschke

Employer: Akadia Training

Ann Nitschke started Akadia in 2011 after seeing a gap in the individual support sector for personalised training and support.

Ann is an engaging and dynamic trainer who has a reputation for her experience and expertise in the aged care and disability industries. Ann moved to online classes, recorded workshop videos and set up drop-in sessions to support students during the COVID-19 restrictions.

Regional finalists

Darren Garland, Blue Dog Training
Renaye Webb, Aurora Training Institute

Community Training Initiative of the Year

Regional winner: Dalby Welcoming Community

Program: Building Connections to Employment through Dalby's Delicious and DeLIGHTful Festival
0419 645 671

Dalby Welcoming Community (DWC) is a volunteer community group focused on building pride in the community. Through the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative, DWC supports people from culturally diverse backgrounds, focused on Dalby's Delicious and DeLIGHTful Festival. The participants engage in community building and social inclusion activities, while completing a Certificate II in Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways.

Regional finalists

Chinchilla Community Centre

Large Employer of the Year

Regional winner: Western Downs Regional Council
1300 268 624

Responsible for a community spread across 38,000km, Western Downs Regional Council (WDRC) is committed to ensuring their workforce is connected locally and united regionally. This commitment requires an innovative approach to training, which is demonstrated at all levels of the organisation. WDRC considers the skills and experience their staff gain through training to be essential to the support and management of its diverse workforce.

Regional finalists

Oakey Beef Exports
South Burnett Regional Council

Medium Employer of the Year

Regional winner: Joe Wagner Group
(07) 4630 1855

Joe Wagner Group is a civil construction company delivering infrastructure and plant hire solutions across Australia. The business has long recognised that its strength comes from its people, and is committed to safety and training for its staff. Currently 45% of the company's workforce is undertaking accredited training qualifications. This includes nationally recognised qualifications in civil construction, business, and workplace health and safety.

Regional finalists

Blask Engineering
BMO Business Centre

Small Employer of the Year

Regional winner: Minx Contemporary Hair Boutique
(07) 4632 3055

Minx Contemporary Hair Boutique was established in 2009. Owner and director Beau Minnett-Vesnaver, wanted to provide a high quality service to compete with salons in larger cities. Beau also created a unique training system for the salon - The Minx Method. This structured approach ensures quality control and consistency throughout the team to deliver the salon's services. In total, Minx has supported 13 apprentices to become qualified hairdressers.

Regional finalists

Out There Cycling
Switch'D Electrical & Air Conditioning

Last updated 29 July 2022

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