A TAFE NSW graduate who recently completed his apprenticeship with HVTC and BlueScope Steel in Wollongong, is taking the next step on his career journey after winning a Student of the Year title at the TAFE NSW Excellence Awards.
Ben Maxwell, who completed a Certificate III course in Engineering Trade followed by a Diploma of Engineering, has capped off his successes by being named TAFE NSW’s Innovative Manufacturing, Robotics and Science Student of the Year.
Ben, 22, completed his Certificate III course while working as a mechanical trade apprentice with HVTC, hosted at BlueScope in the mechanical trade. Mechanical trade is forecast by Jobs and Skills Australia to have employment growth of more than two per cent per year.
Ben was employed as an apprentice via HVTC as part of a collaborative arrangement between BlueScope, HVTC and TAFE NSW.
Highly praised by his supervisors during his apprenticeship, Ben realised he wanted to progress further in the industry and continued his studies with the aim of progressing to a leadership position.
“Working and studying was a challenge when I first started my apprenticeship, but I love my job and I‘m lucky to work with a terrific employer with some really great people,” he said.
“Winning the Student of the Year award was a shock, but it reflects a great learning experience at TAFE NSW and I’m hoping that it will help advance my career and gain more knowledge and experience.”
BlueScope hosts both mechanical and electrical apprentices each year providing the environment for on-the-job training while supporting them through their studies.
BlueScope’s Organisational Development Business Partner Andrew Stirling said the company viewed the arrangement as an entry into a career path into trades, technical, and leadership roles within BlueScope.
“We are thrilled for Ben to receive this award as he has always impressed his supervisors with his skills, determination and tenacity throughout his apprenticeship,” he said.
“We look forward to working with Ben and watching him grow and develop in his career.”
Ben has credited his studies at TAFE NSW and the training provided by his host employer with the success of his career so far.
“It was hard working by day and studying at night, but the teachers were very understanding and they’re always there to encourage and support you as you learn,” he said.
Ben’s TAFE NSW teacher Sandra Petersen, who nominated Ben for the Student of the Year award, said he had made an important contribution throughout his studies.
“Engineering is about teamwork and project work and Ben not only did extremely well for himself, but he also raised the level of the whole group, helping the engineering community by sharing his knowledge with his fellow students,” she said.