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

Thank you to everyone who attended the regional final held on 29 July 2023 at Quayside Terminal, Townsville.

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

Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year

Winner: Benjamin Zabel

Qualification: Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician
Training provider: TAFE Queensland
Employer: Townsville City Council

Benjamin Zabel completed his Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician with Townsville City Council in March 2023. He is committed to completing his Certificate III in Instrumentation and Control to widen his career opportunities. Benjamin's apprenticeship developed his life skills and resilience, and he has become an apprentice mentor, team captain, and health and safety representative. Benjamin believes being positive, calm, and adaptive are essential to working effectively in a team.

Regional finalists

Kylie Gilliland, Certificate III in Engineering
Oscar Turner, Certificate III in Engineering - Mechanical Trade

Bob Marshman Trainee of the Year

Winner: Jack Harris

Qualification: Certificate III in Hospitality
Training provider: Training Unlimited
Employer: Hungry Jack's, Burdell

Jack started as a crew member at Hungry Jack's and was recommended by his managers to enrol in the Certificate III in Hospitality traineeship pathway. After starting his training, he was promoted to crew coach and developed valuable skills in customer satisfaction and team communication. Jack's initiative led him to design a new workflow layout which increased customer service speeds and he played an integral part in the opening of a new store in Burdell.

Regional finalists

Nadia Sim, Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care
Sian Williams, Certificate III in Business

Vocational Student of the Year

Winner: Declan Molloy

Qualification: Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot)
Training provider: Skills Generation
School: Cloncurry State School

With a love of aviation and knowing that drones are one of the fastest expanding industries in Australia, Declan completed his Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot) in 3 months. His training, via Skills Generation, gave him the legal and theoretical knowledge and practical experience to create promotional videos and aerial photos for his workplace and school. Declan is an active leader in the Cloncurry community as the current school captain and a PCYC volunteer.

Regional finalists

Pera Lalor, Certificate IV in Hospitality
Sally McGregor, Certificate IV in Hospitality

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year

Winner: Luke Handley

Qualification: Certificate II in Construction
Training provider: TAFE Queensland
Employer: Whitsunday Regional Council

Luke completed his Certificate II in Construction with the Whitsunday Regional Council roads and drainage division through TAFE Queensland. He chose the industry to help his community of Proserpine and has developed immense pride in his work. The traineeship involved learning tool handling, concreting, road construction and other skills. Luke's previous leadership roles and commitment to rugby league have inspired him to become a teacher and role model for other Indigenous students.

Regional finalists

Danzel Lewis, Certificate III in Business
Neville Penny, Diploma of Mental Health / Diploma of Alcohol and Other Drugs

School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year

Winner: Lianna Woodsbey

Qualification: Certificate III in Engineering – Fixed and Mobile Plant Mechanic
Training provider: TAFE Queensland
Group training organisation: MRAEL
Host employer: Sandvik
School: Good Shepherd Catholic College, Mount Isa

The idea of fixing and operating heavy mining machinery fascinated Lianna who had worked with her father on trucks since she was young. A school-based apprenticeship in heavy diesel fitting with Sandvik, Mount Isa, is building on the engineering and automotive electrical qualifications she has already completed and fuelling her ambition to complete her Certificate III in Engineering – Fixed and Mobile Plant Mechanic, and to be a role model for others in her community.

Regional finalists

Sylvane Byrnes, Certificate III in Hospitality
Samuel Reeve, Certificate III in Carpentry

Equity Student of the Year

Winner: Julia Hurst

Qualification: Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability)
Training provider: breakthru College

After 6 years in the beauty industry Julie chose to study Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) at breakthru College to make a difference in people's lifestyle and experiences. Managing her own education challenges and being diagnosed bipolar, she completed her studies and gained employment in the industry. breakthru College's support has given Julia the confidence to pursue further study and a career as a support coordinator to advocate for people in the NDIS sector.

Regional finalists

Fatuma Ekyoci, Certificate II in Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways
Maryanne Lucas, Certificate II in Community Pharmacy

VET Teacher or Trainer of the Year

Winner: Rye Stott

Employer: TAFE Queensland

Rye is an innovative trainer with TAFE Queensland in Townsville. He began his career as a cargo specialist in the Australian Defence Force and after 12 years' service, moved to the VET sector teaching licensing and construction training. Since 2021, he has created TAFE's new Defence Training Package and built the entire portfolio from the ground up. He has introduced innovative ideas to change attitudes towards safety in the workplace and improve training outcomes.

Regional finalist

Natalie Cashin, TAFE Queensland

Community Training Initiative of the Year

Winner: Myuma

Program: Myuma Indigenous Employment Program

Myuma is a not-for-profit Indigenous training organisation and civil works contractors supporting First Nations peoples. The Myuma Indigenous Employment Program uses strong partnerships to address local industry deficits and community needs. With pre-assessments to tailor participant's training and support plans, comprehensive facilities, and strategies to overcome barriers. Myuma participants gain both technical and soft skills that assist them into new jobs with better career prospects.

Regional finalists

breakthru College – NDIS Disability Employment Project
Townsville Multicultural Support Group – Pathways to Quality Employment for Refugees and Migrants in Regional Queensland

Large Employer of the Year

Winner: Townsville City Council
13 48 10

Townsville City Council is committed to serving the community, driving economic growth and supporting its workforce of 1,700 employees to keep their skills current and industry relevant. Partnering with registered training organisations, there is an extensive range of certificate qualifications and integrated on-the-job training available. This includes new programs supporting workers to embrace technological innovations and others that support the council's commitment to diversity and equity.

Medium Employer of the Year

Winner: Hillery Group
(07) 4786 5100

Hillery Group owns and operates quarries in Northern Queensland and provides products for civil construction projects and suppliers. It has a dedicated team responsible for implementing accredited and non-accredited training programs, including 30 in-house courses. Hillery Group worked on an education pathways program for Year 10 students at Bowen State High School and is committed to equity and diversity in employment and reconciliation in remote communities.

Regional finalists

Cowboys Leagues Club
Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council

Small Employer of the Year

Winner: R.H.D. Classic Supplies and Services
(07) 4779 1340

R.H.D. Classic Supplies and Services is a small Townsville business supplying parts and servicing motorcycles for 21 years. Specialising in custom modification, particularly for people with physical disabilities, it fosters a culture that combines the owner's Indigenous heritage and the passion to teacher, supporting apprenticeships and certificate courses with in-house opportunities. The business also offers work experience and support for WorkCover participants looking to re-enter the workforce.

Regional finalist

MS Fabrications QLD

Last updated 30 July 2023

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