The 2023 Western Region NSW Training Awards were held on Bathurst recently with talented individuals from across the regions in attendance to recognise the best of the best in vocational education and training.
Member for Bathurst Paul Toole who attended the event said the calibre of competition was to a very high standard.
“Both Joshua and Caroline have been recognised as the best of the best in the premier award for vocational education and training in NSW,” Mr Toole said.
“I congratulate them on their hard work, success and commitment to their careers and industries and communities.
“It is fantastic to see the next generation excelling at highly skilled jobs right here in our regional backyard.”
The NSW Training Awards are conducted annually by Training Services NSW within the NSW Department of Education to recognise outstanding achievement in the vocational education and training sector. The Awards honour and reward the achievements of students, Trainers/Teachers, Registered Training Organisations, large and medium Employers.
One of Lithgow’s talented locals Joshua Winter was a finalist for Apprentice of the Year.
Joshua made the move from Melbourne to Lithgow to take up just his apprenticeship at Thales. He had a great interest in the mechanics of firearms and was drawn to the industry. This passion has carried over to his volunteering at the Small Arms Museum and as an active Reservist.
Post completion of his apprenticeship, Joshua has returned to TAFE to complete a Toole Making qualification.
He is now employed as a Tradesman and prides himself on being an Apprentice Training mentor, looking after Apprentices from school-based to third year students.
Josh's supervisor was also impressed with his work ethic.
"Josh has had a remarkable and rewarding journey so far in his apprenticeship.”
“He has been an outstanding apprentice throughout his 4 years at Thales, his TAFE studies, work experience, work ethic and his ability to learn has surpassed expectations.
“Josh has done extremely well, his enthusiasm and passion for the job has not diminished over the years".
Josh said he recognises the value of not just his apprenticeship, but all apprenticeships.
“My advice is to go after what you want, research, take all the steps required to understand all options and then work hard to start your journey,” Mr Winter said.
“Being paid to learn instead of paying to learn is the best.
“Apprenticeships are challenging and rewarding. Mentoring and coaching others has been my biggest reward.”
Bathurst local Caroline Morris is the first female apprentice to have successfully completed a Fitter Machinist trade on site at Cadia in over 20 years. Her efforts have been recently recognised by being named NSW Training Awards Apprentice of the Year.
Caroline lives in Bathurst and comes from an Agriculture background, completing a Certificate IV in Agriculture. After completing this qualification, Caroline wanted to continue working with her hands, stay living regionally and develop a future-proof career. An Apprenticeship was a pathway to achieving all three goals, so she decided to apply to be a fitter machinist at Cadia Valley Operations.
Caroline has proven herself to be a champion for women in trades and trade ambassador, who deserves to be recognised for her contributions and achievements.
Caroline is proud of her achievements including, being employed by Cadia post trade completion and being part of the Girls Can Too females in trades program.
Caroline said she feels great enjoyment telling people about her career.
"I love seeing the surprise on the faces of people who aren't expecting a female to pop out from working underneath a machine,” Miss Morris said.
"The apprentice program meant I could gain a trade in an area I was interested in that had life-long potential and meant I could stay local.
And when asked what is good about a trade, her response is, “what isn't good?”
Caroline’s mentor said she has proven herself to be hard working, resilient, committed and well-respected member of the Cadia team.
“Over the past four years, Caroline has participated in numerous trade and recruitment activities, including speaking on panels and media interviews.
“Despite being outside of her comfort zone when in the spotlight, Caroline has an inspiring nature, capturing hearts and minds with her authenticity.
As the saying goes, "You can't be, what you can't see", Caroline is helping to increase the appeal of trades, upskilling, and inspiring other females across the Central West and on site at Cadia.