Community & Business

17 August, 2023

Local sparkies win big at state awards

A PASSION for the science and challenge behind every job has earned two local electrical apprentices first place in the Master Electricians Excellence Awards held in Townsville recently.

By Ellie Fink

Local sparkies win big at state awards - feature photo

Second year apprentice sparky Samantha Wright and fourth year sparky Johan Dustan from SmartElec both won their respective categories for the Far North Queensland region, taking in north of Gladstone and west to Mt Isa.

SmartElec was also nominated for Service Business of Year, making it to the finals and coming runner up. 

The annual awards recognise well-rounded electrical apprentices, with all nominees taking part in a practical and theoretical exam judging their skills, knowledge and health and safety compliance. 

Co-owner of the company Daniel Askey-Doran nominated both of his apprentices for the award,  confident they would go above and beyond. 

“I am absolutely stoked and one of the things people said on the awards night to me was ‘you must be really proud of them now’ and I was like ‘no, I was proud of them before I even bought them down, I wouldn’t have nominated them if I wasn’t proud,” he said.

Samantha’s sparky journey through SmartElec started with work experience whilst she was still in high school. 

The 19-year-old spent only two days at work experience after coming down will illness, but those two days were enough to make an impression on SmartElec, who were quick to hire her when she left school. 

Her passion for being a sparky stems from her determination to challenge herself, with her favourite aspect of the job being the math involved.

“She is just brilliant, and she was super keen on being an electrician whether we hired her or not,” Daniel said. 

“She has some interesting limitations, like she is a short person and even getting into the truck has proven a challenge for her, but she finds a way to get around those limitations and she never ever complains about anything – she will find a way to get it done.”

When finding out she was the winner for the first and second year apprentice category, Samantha was in shock.

“I was in shock and very nervous, but it was really good and definitely something I can now talk about,” she said. 

“I think it will definite help further my work and motivate me to try harder to represent it. I was also elected for nationals, but I didn’t get selected which is okay but its upwards from here now.

“I am very grateful for the company I work for and all their support and teaching, I definitely couldn’t have done it without them.”

For Jonah, electricity and how things work has always fascinated him, spending his childhood tinkering with electronics. 

Like Samantha, he started out as a work experience student and now, is the number one apprentice in the North Queensland third and fourth year category.

“When I found out I was nominated I was a bit in shock… I was thrilled for the opportunity,” he said. 

“(When finding out I won), I had never felt an adrenaline rush quite like the one I had. I wasn’t expecting to win but I knew I had a good score. I was completely blown away.

“To the whole team for constantly training me and passing on their knowledge, thank you for getting me to where I am today.”


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