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Class Act: Queanbeyan’s Nicole Smith claims top gong at prestigious TAFE NSW awards

TAFE NSW Queanbeyan

Class Act: Queanbeyan’s Nicole Smith claims top gong at prestigious TAFE NSW awards

28 March 2019

TAFE NSW Queanbeyan student Nicole Smith has been honoured for her academic achievement and positive work ethic at the prestigious TAFE NSW Excellence Awards in Albury Thursday.

Miss Smith who completed Certificate III in Hairdressing at TAFE NSW Queanbeyan in 2018, was announced as the winner of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Award, at the gala awards ceremony at Albury’s Hovell Tree Inn.

The awards recognise the pinnacle of achievement for TAFE NSW students across 29 campuses in Southern NSW.

An ecstatic Nicole Smith said the award was the culmination of some tough decisions and some dedication to changing direction in her life.

“I’m over the moon at receiving this award. All my hard work has paid off,” she said.

“At the beginning of Year 10 school wasn’t working out for me. So at 14 I left school and started my apprenticeship in hairdressing and working full time.

“Two years of TAFE NSW has given me a lot of skills. But it has also helped me to become more mature as a person. It gave me confidence and changed me for the better. It has helped me to grow up.

“I’m really proud of myself. Hopefully by winning this award I can inspire other young Aboriginal women to have more faith in themselves and believe they can do what they set their minds to.”

TAFE NSW Regional General Manager Kerry Penton commended the winners for setting a benchmark in their chosen areas of study and helping inspire other students to follow suit.

“These awards recognise our most passionate, industrious and skillful students, and the fact teachers are the ones who nominate the students makes it even more special,” Ms Penton said.

“I have no doubt these students will go on to forge highly successful careers and will be wonderful ambassadors for TAFE NSW.”

Ms Penton said the awards exemplified TAFE NSW’s commitment to training the workforce leaders of tomorrow.

“TAFE NSW is proud to equip students with practical skills and work experience so they’re ready to hit the ground running in their chosen field,” Ms Penton said.

“The fact is, TAFE NSW graduates earn higher wages, on average, than university graduates when they enter the workforce. They also have a higher employment rate than university graduates, with 82 per cent of TAFE NSW graduates gaining employment after training.

“TAFE NSW is Australia’s largest education provider and has the greatest range of courses to support any career.”

2019 TAFE NSW Excellence Awards Honour Roll:

* Student of the Year: Philip Freeland

* Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Students of the Year: Nicole Smith

* Apprentice of the Year: Renee Jones

* International Student of the Year: Gustavo Martins

* Trainee of the Year: Taylor Piper

* Agribusiness Student of the Year: Gustavo Martins

* Career Pathways, Aboriginal Languages and Employability Skills Student of the Year: Philip Freeland

* Health, Wellbeing and Community Services Student of the Year: Jisha Davies

* Infrastructure, Energy and Construction Student of the Year: Emma Tyrrell

* Innovative Manufacturing, Robotics and Science Student of the Year: Emma Godsell

* Supply Chain and eCommerce Student of the Year: Luke Baker

* Technology and Business Services Student of the Year: Louise Carroll

* Tourism and Experience Services Student of the Year: Renee Jones

Media contact: Adam Wright, TAFE NSW Media Officer, 4421 9895, mobile 0466 375 552.