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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 .
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:
* 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.
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