Congratulations to the winners and finalists of the North Queensland region. Winners were announced online on 11 September 2020.

Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year

Regional winner: Obadiah Geia

Qualification: Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician
Training provider: TAFE Queensland
Employer: Jason Healey Electrical

After playing under the NRL's bright lights with the North Queensland Cowboys, Obadiah has gone on to complete his electrical apprenticeship and is helping to keep vital infrastructure operating for his community on Palm Island.

Living on the island 70km from Townsville presented both challenges and opportunities for his training, but with help from his employer Jason Healey Electrical and TAFE Queensland, Obadiah completed his apprenticeship after 6 years. His commitment to keep studying along with support from his family, community and employer have prepared a great skilled worker and role model for Palm Island.

Regional finalists

Emma Castles
Qualification: Certificate III in Hairdressing
Training provider: TAFE Queensland
Employer: Justine's Hair Design

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


Bob Marshman Trainee of the Year

Regional winner: Nicola Caldwell

Qualification: Certificate III in Work Health and Safety
Training provider: Total Management Training
Employer: Townsville City Council

Taking on a traineeship with Townsville City Council has helped Nicola find her passion and develop her workplace skills. Nicola found the mix of independent and collaborative work as a trainee preferable to dealing with university timetables and deadlines. Building her self-motivation and setting higher standards for herself during her traineeship has prepared Nicola to pursue the next goals for her chosen career in workplace health and safety and local government.

Regional finalists

Tayla Busiko
Qualification: Certificate III in Business Administration (Medical)
Training provider: UNE Partnerships
Group training organisation: UNE Partnerships
Employer: Gold City Medical Centre

Neil Filewood
Qualification: Certificate III in Business Administration
Training provider: TAFE Queensland
Employer: TAFE Queensland


Vocational Student of the Year

Regional winner: Ngaire Trigg

Qualification: Diploma of Community Development
Training provider: TAFE Queensland
Employer: St Benedict's Catholic School

Mother-of-two Ngaire switched her life's focus to tap into her passions for networking and supporting the natural environment. Thanks to studying a Diploma of Community Development, Ngaire has now found her dream job working as an Environmental Support Officer with St Benedict's Catholic School in Townsville.

Ngaire collaborates with teachers, other school staff and community leaders to develop activities that support students' understanding of the outdoors, such as creating a native plant and bush tucker trail with support from local Aboriginal elders.

Regional finalists

Melissa Shepherd
Qualification: Diploma of Leadership and Management
Training provider: CQUniversity Australia
Employer: Port of Townsville Limited

Zac Walker
Qualification: Certificate III in Music Industry
Training provider: Heatley Secondary College
Employer: Self-employed


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year

Regional winner: Obadiah Geia

Qualification: Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician
Training provider: TAFE Queensland
Employer: Jason Healey Electrical

After a few years of playing rugby league and working casually as a labourer in the off-season, Bwgcolman man Obadiah, from Palm Island, decided to undertake an apprenticeship and focus on his future and that of his growing family.

Switching his casual work with Jason Healey Electrical to an electrical apprenticeship was a step towards his goal of seeing more local people completing needed work in remote Indigenous communities. Obadiah's work on Palm Island covers helping households to working on runway lights.

Regional finalists

Neil Filewood
Qualification: Certificate III in Business Administration
Training provider: TAFE Queensland
Employer: TAFE Queensland

Elisabeth Matters
Qualification: Certificate III in Carpentry
Training provider: TAFE Queensland
Employer: Ausco Modular
School: St Margaret Mary's College


School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year

Regional winner: Elisabeth Matters

Qualification: Certificate III in Carpentry
Training provider: TAFE Queensland
Employer: Ausco Modular
School: St Margaret Mary's College

An Indigenous Leader at St Margaret Mary's College in Townsville, Elisabeth has taken on a school-based apprenticeship with Ausco Modular to pursue her goal of working in the construction industry.

Studying with TAFE Queensland and working with supportive colleagues, Elisabeth is building her skills and is proud to promote the benefits of her apprenticeship and be a role model to other students. Driven by the enjoyment of building with her own two hands, she plans to complete her trade and further her career in this industry through further study.

Regional finalists

Frank Moro
Qualification: Certificate II in Engineering Pathways
Training provider: TAFE Queensland
Employer: Schmider Engineering
School: Spinifex State College

Babetha Nona
Qualification: Certificate III in Carpentry
Training provider: TAFE Queensland
Employer: Building and Asset Services
School: Kirwan State High School


Equity VET Student of the Year

Regional winner: Maxine Warrell

Qualification: Certificate III in Community Services
Training provider: TAFE Queensland

To pursue her goals of standing up for people who have suffered abuse, are living with disability or dealing with mental health issues, Maxine had to overcome her own barriers that could have held her back.

After deciding to study a Certificate III in Community Services and disclose her own learning difficulties and bad past experiences, Maxine found support from TAFE Queensland teachers and support staff. Maxine's determination and self-discipline has helped her achieve high standards while continuing to support and care for her children. Now she wants to earn a Diploma of Community Services.

Regional finalists

Lisa Dalziel
Qualification: Certificate III in Individual Support
Training provider: Selectability Training
Group training organisation: Jobtrain
Host employer: Gtec Training and Development Pty Ltd

Dannielle Ross
Qualification: Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care
Training provider: Kool Kids Training College
Group training organisation: MEGT (Australia) Ltd
Host employer: G8 Education


VET Teacher or Trainer of the Year

Regional winner: Bjarne Ohlin

Employer: Heatley Secondary College

With more than 40 years' experience in the music industry, including as a member of the ARIA Hall of Fame inductees Divinyls, Bjarne has found his greatest challenges and sense of fulfilment through teaching.

Head of Department at Heatley Secondary College, Bjarne leads 3 teachers and delivers Certificate II and III in Music Industry training with more than 350 graduates since 2004. His work makes a valuable contribution for this community in a variety of creative industries.

Regional finalists

Glenn Connell
Employer: TAFE Queensland

Anthony Kukas
Employer: TAFE Queensland


Community Training Initiative of the Year

Regional winner: Seed Foundation Australia

Program: First Peoples Health Program
www.seedfoundationaustralia.com.au
(07) 4728 5041

Working with young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from remote and rural communities, the Seed Foundation's First Peoples Health Program is developing skilled workers who add vital cultural understanding with the aim of improving lifestyle and health outcomes for their communities.

Delivering health training for 10 years through face-to-face and online modes, Seed Foundation offers a comprehensive pathway support system for students which delivers positive outcomes.

Regional finalist

Access Community Services Limited
Program: Step Into Business and Step Into Services
www.accesscommunity.org.au
(07) 3412 8222


Large Employer of the Year

Regional winner: Glencore Queensland Metals

www.glencore.com.au
(07) 4744 2965

The Glencore North West Queensland Apprenticeship Program prepares the skilled workforce needed to run complex mining processes safely and efficiently. With around 200 apprentices working in North West Queensland and a strong completion rate, the program provides opportunities in a range of mechanical engineering and electrical fields, including dual trades.

The program attracts a diverse group of applicants including people from their Indigenous Employment Program and Girls for Mining Mentoring Program. With a range of additional industry-specific training, rotations through different teams and work sites and adopting new technologies, apprentices are well prepared for their trades and careers.

Regional finalists

Townsville City Council
www.townsville.qld.gov.au
13 48 10

Wilmar Sugar Pty Ltd
www.wilmarsugar-anz.com
(07) 4722 1972


Medium Employer of the Year

Regional winner: selectability Ltd

www.selectability.com.au
(07) 4725 3664

selectability is a not-for-profit mental wellbeing services provider operating in a range of regional communities, with a focus on North Queensland. With its training arm, selectability Training, the business designs training programs for its staff to support their professional development and careers and manage workplace risks.

Carrying out an organisational skills matrix has helped the business understand its current and future workforce needs as demand for its services increases due to COVID-19. Its online learning management system also supports training delivery through its regional offices and the development of its diverse workforce.

Regional finalists

Byrnecut Australia
www.byrnecut.com.au
(08) 9270 1000

Cowboys Leagues Club
www.cowboysleagues.com.au
(07) 4724 8000


Small Employer of the Year

Regional winner: R.H.D. Classic Supplies and Services

www.facebook.com/rhdclassic
(07) 4779 1340

R.H.D. Classic Supplies and Services in Townsville is committed to supporting their motorcycle riding clients and providing opportunities for staff and the wider community to develop their skills.

With 1 full-time mechanic, 2 part-time employees and owner/lead mechanic Sharine Milne, the small team open up their workshop to assist people training to return to work and other organisations looking to support disengaged young people or people with disability as well as continuing to improve their own skills through formal and informal training.

Regional finalists

No Boundaries Health and Osteopathy
www.noboundarieshealth.com.au
(07) 4413 7723

NQ Electrical
www.nqelectrical.com.au
1300 777 877

Last updated 11 September 2020

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