Hunter locals win state awards

Hunter locals win state awards

Cessnock local, Ben McDonald has taken home a top honour after being named Apprentice of the Year at the 2017 NSW & ACT Group Training Awards in Sydney this month.

The 25-year-old electrician from Cessnock enrolled in a teaching degree at university after his HSC, but soon discovered it wasn’t the right career path for him.

Ben instead followed a career path as an electrician.

“In 2012 I decided to follow in my father’s and great grandfather’s footsteps and applied for an electrical apprenticeship through HVTC Hunter then accepted a position with host employer Peabody at their Jerry’s Plains site,” said Ben.

Ben was drawn to the hands-on learning style an apprenticeship offered and excelled in his Certificate III Electrotechnology – Electrician training at the HVTC Skills Centre in Rutherford.

“I enjoyed learning the core theories and laws behind the electrical trade and how to go about my work in a safe manner, both individually and in a team environment,” Ben said.

“Being named the NSW & ACT Group Training Awards Apprentice of the Year is an amazing honour and it feels great to have all the hard work I’ve put in recognised in this way.

“I’m looking forward to continuing on my career path and passing on the skills and knowledge I’ve acquired to the next generation of electrical apprentices.”

HVTC CEO, Sharon Smith attended the event and said Ben is a fantastic ambassador for the vocational education and training sector.

“Ben is incredibly focussed, both personally and professionally, and has a bright future ahead of him,” Sharon said.

“He has now accepted a permanent position with Peabody and they are to be credited for their role in making sure our young people secure quality employment outcomes.”

No stranger to recognition, Ben has received numerous awards and scholarships during his four-year apprenticeship, including the 2017 Hunter Region Training Awards Apprentice of the Year title.

Singleton’s Emma Gibson was named Woman in Non-traditional Trade Apprentice of the Year at the same awards. The award recognised Emma’s outstanding performance and her passion for developing her career in engineering, which is generally considered a non-traditional industry for women.

The award tops off an illustrious four-year apprenticeship for Emma, who was also named Woman in Non-traditional Trade Apprentice of the Year at the 2017 HVTC Excellence Awards, 2016 Hunter Manufacturing Awards’ Apprentice of the Year, and was presented with a Tradesperson Scholarship at the 2015 National Association of Women in Construction Awards.

Emma hopes that her accolade inspires other females to look for careers in non-traditional trades.

“Whilst there are still some challenges facing women in non-traditional trades, I hope my success will inspire other women to defy stereotypes and chase their goals,” said Emma.

IMAGE | Cessnock’s Ben McDonald took out top honours when he was named Apprentice of the Year at the NSW & ACT Group Training Awards.

Hunter Valley Training Company

HVTC is a not for profit company offering apprenticeships, traineeships and other business training services. It is headquartered at its multi-million dollar Skills Centre near Newcastle and has nine other branches across NSW. It was Australia’s first group training organisation and has provided employment and training opportunities to more than 20,000 people since 1981.

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