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

Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year

Regional winner: Alex Lees

Qualification: Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology
Training provider: TAFE Queensland
Employer: Von Bibra Auto Village

Alex's passion for fixing cars started at a young age, spending time working on cars in his family's workshop. Pursuing his career dream, Alex completed auto VET subjects at school and gained an apprenticeship.

Although Alex sustained a lifelong injury from a motorcycle accident during his apprenticeship, he didn't let it set him back. He continued to work on his physical and mental recovery by working on cars in his workshop. Alex gained a technician position with Von Bibra Motors Group, setting records in sales and securing an apprenticeship, giving him the opportunity to complete this trade he started 6 years earlier.

Regional finalists

Jeremy Drabsch
Qualification: Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology
Training provider: TAFE Queensland
Employer: Titan Automotive

Sarah Hunt
Qualification: Certificate III in Commercial Cookery
Training provider: TAFE Queensland
Employer: The Star Culinary Institute

Bob Marshman Trainee of the Year

Regional winner: Shannon McNamara

Qualification: Certificate III in Water Industry Operations
Training provider: Water Training Australia
Employer: Seqwater

Having balanced a career in retail with raising a family, Shannon was looking for a career change that provided diversity and a sense of being part of an essential service to the community. This is what she has found through her traineeship as a Dam Operator. Not only is she helping the community, she has learnt new vocational skills in areas such as dam safety and bulk water supply.

Seqwater's traineeships provide excellent on-the-job training exposure, working in different locations across South East Queensland. No day is ever the same.

Regional finalists

Abbi Myers
Qualification: Certificate III in Business
Training provider: Novaskill
Group training organisation: Local Government Group Training – Novaskill
Host employer: City of Gold Coast

Hailey Ryan
Qualification: Certificate III in Events
Training provider: One Step Further
Group training organisation: Maxima Group Training
Host employer: Logan City Council

Vocational Student of the Year

Regional winner: Juan Corredor

Qualification: Diploma of Environmental Management
Training provider: Absorb Training
Employer: Darwalla Group

Juan is an advocate for training and a testament to the benefits that come from lifelong learning. Since migrating to Australia from Columbia in 2007, he has used vocational education and training to rise through the ranks with the Darwalla Group. He ha completed numerous qualifications over the last 13 years and today holds the position of Environmental Manager.

Completing his Diploma of Environmental Management has given Juan the confidence and tools to manage the technical side of the role and complement his leadership requirements.

Regional finalists

Sawee Bero
Qualification: Certificate III in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care
Training provider: Health Industry Training 
Employer: ATSI Community Health Service Brisbane

Tiesha Martin-King
Qualification: Certificate III in Education Support
Training provider: TAFE Queensland

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year

Regional winner: Emilie Bevan

Qualification: Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance
Training provider: Mater Health
Group training organisation: OSMAC Apprenticeships
Host employer: Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital 
School: Beenleigh State High School

A proud descendant of the Yugarapul people, Emilie has wanted to be a healthcare worker from a young age after caring for her Nanna. Emilie has achieved success in her 'Deadly Start' traineeship, which has developed her skills and built on her personal strengths of compassion, trustworthiness, reliability and attention to detail.

Overcoming challenging times through her early teens, Emilie has become a role model for those around her as she takes on mentoring roles within school and as a youth advisor in the Yourtown Youth Advisory.

Regional finalists

Mawana Cora
Qualification: Certificate III in Business Administration
Training provider: Australian Training Company
Group training organisation: Australian Training Company
Host employer: Yourtown
School: Mabel Park State High School

Tiesha Martin-King
Qualification: Certificate III in Education Support
Training provider: TAFE Queensland

School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year

Regional winner: Jayden Ballinger

Qualification: Certificate III in Business
Training provider: Australian College of Commerce and Management
Group training organisation: Maxima Group Training
Host employer: Qantas Airways
School: Aviation High

Undertaking work experience with numerous airlines was the first step for Jayden to realise his aviation career pathway. Attending Aviation High has given Jayden the knowledge and opportunity to commence a Maxima indigenous SAT program, hosted by Qantas. He now has a solid insight into aviation business management. He has also developed a wide range of skills from networking and conflict resolution to quality customer service and teamwork, which are positioning him positively for the future.

Jayden believes in giving back to the community and is currently participating in an ATSI leadership program and a project to identify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander World War I soldiers so they are recognised in the national war archives.

Regional finalists

Lagaau Leaa
Qualification: Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care
Training provider: Charlton Brown Australia Nanny College
Group training organisation: School-based Employment Services Qld
Host employer: 123 Grow Logan Central
School: Woodridge State High School

Hayley Martin
Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing)
Training provider: TAFE Queensland
Group training organisation: OSMAC Apprenticeships
Host employer:
Logan Hospital
Rochedale State High School

Equity VET Student of the Year

Regional winner: Alex Lees

Qualification: Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology
Training provider: TAFE Queensland
Employer: Von Bibra Auto Village

Alex's life changed in an instant when he was in a motorcycle accident in 2015. He was working as an apprentice mechanic and only had 3 units to complete. It took Alex 3 and a half years of physical and mental recovery to find his way back into an apprenticeship in 2019.

Alex faced significant physical challenges associated with working and completing training with one paralysed arm. Completing this apprenticeship and becoming a fully-qualified mechanic in early 2020 was the realisation of a lifelong career ambition for Alex.

Regional finalists

William Platz
Qualification: Certificate III in Food Processing
Training provider: Workplace Training Strategies
Employer: Gold Coast Health

Annika Strand
Qualification: Diploma of Graphic Design
Training provider: TAFE Queensland

VET Teacher or Trainer of the Year

Regional winner: Colin Thompson

Employer: Building Industry Training

Colin has been passing on his vast trade knowledge to apprentices for over 35 years. He currently manages over 140 students with Building Industry Training.

Held in high esteem by apprentices, employers, industry, and fellow trainers, Colin successfully mentors new trainers within the company. His dedication to the long-term success of each student is outstanding and is always working on concepts to help them succeed. Colin is described as 'using old-fashioned experience with new technology' to enhance all aspects of training, including meeting apprentices onsite rather than in the classroom setting.

Regional finalists

Angela Derks
Employer: Australasian Sustainable Wellness Academy

Ricky Naicker
Employer: Australian Institute of Learning Pty Ltd / Unity College Australia

Community Training Initiative of the Year

Regional winner: Kidz Foodz

Program: Food to Live
(07) 5593 1486

Kidz Foodz recognise that education, training and employment are key factors to building active community participation. There hospitality programs include the Food to Live and Food for Thought projects, which are funded through the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative.

These healthy food for life initiatives provide an opportunity for the unemployed, disengaged or disadvantaged on the Gold Coast to engage in meaningful community contributions through the preparation, production and distribution of health meals to local disadvantaged youth. The programs also provide nutritious meals to community service agencies working with homeless people on the Gold Coast.

Regional finalists

The Migrant Centre Organisation Inc
Program: Migrants Matter
(07) 5591 7261

Multilink Community Service Inc
Program: Working in Community Care
(07) 3808 4463

Large Employer of the Year

Regional winner: Frizelle Sunshine Automotive
(07) 5583 8888

Active in the local Gold Coast community for almost 30 years, Frizelle Sunshine has grown into one of the largest automotive dealerships in Queensland. They pride themselves on their training culture, with 97 per cent of all employees engaged in formal and in-house training, providing a range of training packages and micro-credentials across all areas of the business.

Committed to excellence in training, Frizelle Sunshine has invested in a dedicated Training Excellence Centre, the only one of its kind owned and operated by an automotive industry business in South East Queensland.

Medium Employer of the Year

Regional winner: Goldmakk Pty Ltd
0407 771 243

Goldmakk is a family-owned and operated business comprising 8 McDonald's restaurants on the Gold Coast. All employees have the opportunity to grow and develop within the organisation through its training programs. These programs cover all aspects of the business and start from entry-level traineeships through to leadership development.

Goldmakk is committed to providing opportunities, recognising and encouraging talent, and developing leaders. It does this through individual development programs.

Regional finalists

Jamadu (QLD) Pty Ltd (McDonald's Burleigh Waters, Robina Central, Reedy Creek, Palm Beach, Elanora and Tugan)
0417 194 049

Orbitz Elevators
1300 851 554

Small Employer of the Year

Regional winner: Thom and Ann's
(07) 5677 0828

Thom and Ann's services the local Yarrabilba area with fresh seasonal produce and local deli products. As qualified chefs, owners Scott and Fiona encourage and support their staff to undertake traineeships and apprenticeships in order to provide them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the food and hospitality industries.

Staff gain exposure to the various facets of the business, including catering and coffee van opportunities which increase their skills and allow them to gain a better understanding of complete customer service. Fiona also works with local schools, providing work experience for students and hospitality resources for teachers.

Regional finalists

(07) 5531 2000

Rob Milla Electrical Pty Ltd
0415 277 890

Last updated 11 September 2020

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