Community & Business

15 October, 2022

Spotlight shines on trade students

THREE young trades students from the Tablelands were thrust into the spotlight last week when they took out top accolades at the TAFE Queensland 2022 Cairns Trade Excellence Awards.

Trade Student of the Year Lachlan Costa.
Trade Student of the Year Lachlan Costa.

The awards involved 62 finalists from across the State who were recognised for their dedication to their trade and training.

In front of a crowd of 250 people, 16 trophies were award-ed, with Mareeba and Atherton Tablelands residents among the recipients.

Atherton man Nathan Da-vis, a block layer at Ball Brick and Block Laying Pty Ltd, was named the Building and Construction Apprentice of the Year.

Mr Davis is no stranger to accolades, with his Cairns Trade Excellence trophy joining the gold medal he received earlier this year at a regional World-Skills block laying competition.

“Initially I was surprised when my name was read out at the winner and after accepting the award I felt excited and humbled. To win the World-Skills medal and then an apprentice award, it’s blown me away,” Mr Davis said.

Building and Construction Apprentice of the Year Nathan Davis.
Building and Construction Apprentice of the Year Nathan Davis.

Leah O’Connor, an apprentice electrician employed by Mareeba Electrical Services, picked up the Female Trade Student of the Year Award.

On the night, Ms O’Connor was praised for being a mentor in the classroom to other ap-prentices and for her role as a TAFE Queensland “Women in Trades” ambassador.

Ms O’Connor is part of a TAFE Queensland campaign to encourage more girls to chase their trade dreams as they grow up and to remind women that it's never too late to pursue a career change.

As part of the campaign, Ms O’Connor has shared her training journey in a video testimonial to highlight the benefits of an apprenticeship.

“I enjoy being an apprentice. People think there's stigma around it and that you're always at the bottom,” she said in her video testimonial.

“But you've got to start somewhere and your employer and your teachers are there to build you up. At the end of your training, all of your hard work will be worthwhile.”

Female Trade Student of the Year Leah O’Connor.
Female Trade Student of the Year Leah O'Connor.

Mareeba State High School student Lachlan Costa also received an award at the ceremony, named the Engineering TAFE at School Trade Student of the Year.

TAFE Queensland Director of Trades (north region) Mark Patterson said the 2022 Cairns Trade Excellence Awards was now in its sixth year.

“Our annual awards night is a great opportunity to celebrate the dedication and success of the next generation of local trades-people and I’d like to congratulate all of the finalists,” he said.

“More than 1200 apprentices from across the State currently attend the Cairns campus for training and 62 of those students were selected as finalists for the 2022 Cairns Trade Excellence Awards.”


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