THE Fleet, Air, Arm Museum was host to the regional launch of the Illawarra and South East NSW Training Awards on Friday.
The awards, which are co-ordinated by the Vocational Training Committee (VTC), State Training Services and NSW Government Education and Communities, offer national recognition of the hard work by apprentices, trainees and students across a variety of industries and locations.
Last year’s 2013 Illawarra and South East NSW apprentice of the year, Royal Australian Navy able seaman Justin Macey from Cambewarra helped to launch the event and said the award is a huge honour to him and was his “cream on the cake”.
“It’s still all very surreal to me. You always wonder if you are worthy and if you are doing a good enough job and it was just so great to be recognised for my work,” he said.
“I did an apprenticeship as an avionics technician and the amount of support I have received from the navy, my supervisors and even my colleagues is overwhelming.
“So many of the people who I look up to are in this room today and have all been fabulous mentors.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without those great mentors around me who inspire me to be as good as I can be.
“I guess the award has helped me to step up to the mark and in the shortness of my career I have noticed to a greater degree people approaching me for guidance, so I guess I am now being recognised as a bit more of a mentor also.”
The nominees for the apprentice of the year awards included, Grant Morris and Justin Desousa from Endeavour Energy and Blake Aitken from Shoalhaven City Council.
They attended the awards launch and collectively said they were shocked and honoured to be nominated.
VTC chairwoman Meredith Yabsley said when they were choosing the apprentice of the year they look for those who showed the dedication to finish and be the best they can in their trade, even through possible hardships.
“We are looking for a candidate with an edge,” she said.
The awards include the Regional Trainee Of The Year, Regional Apprentice Of The Year, Aboriginal Or Torres Strait Islander Student Of The Year and Vocational Trainer Of The Year.