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NECA shines at TAFE NSW Gili Awards


NECA shines at TAFE NSW Gili Awards

The NECA emPOWER Aboriginal Apprenticeship Readiness Program was recognised for its achievements at the 2019 TAFE NSW Gili Awards last night.

Attended by The Hon. Dr Geoffrey Lee, Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education, the 2019 TAFE NSW Gili (pronounced kill-ee) Awards celebrate the achievements of Aboriginal students, as well as the accomplishments of TAFE NSW employees and innovative programs that have empowered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout 2018. 

NECA emPOWER Aboriginal Apprentice Readiness Program received the Industry Partnership Award and the Youth Engagement Award for the outstanding work the organisation has done to equip Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with the skills, experience and self-esteem they need to pursue electrical apprenticeships.

NECA Training General Manager, Tom Emeleus said, “As the peak association for our industry, NECA is proud to have taken the lead in providing opportunities for Indigenous Australians to launch into a career.

“These awards are a result of the strong partnership between NECA, the fantastic team at TAFE NSW and Mulga Gidgee, built up over many years working to support Indigenous youth with opportunities in the electrical industry. Thanks must also be extended to the Commonwealth Department of Jobs and Small Business for their generous support of this program through the Empowering YOUth Initiative”.

“The program participants often come from a tough background with limited opportunities. With TAFE NSW, we set out to bridge that gap and provide nationally-recognised skills and genuine employment. This has been life-changing for the nearly 200 Indigenous Australians who have participated. ”

TAFE NSW Eora has delivered ten NECA emPOWER Aboriginal Apprenticeship Readiness Programs to almost 200 students, with 81 per cent of the program graduates now in long term employment or ongoing education.

TAFE NSW Regional General Manager, Vicky Mazzeo congratulated the winners for their hard work, dedication and commitment to transforming the lives of others through vocational education and training outcomes for Aboriginal people.

“Last night’s celebration marked the 29th year that the TAFE NSW Gili Awards have recognised the power of vocational education and training, and the life changing pathways to employment or further study for Aboriginal people.

“Gili is an Eora word meaning ‘to shine’ and is fitting for the NECA emPOWER Aboriginal Apprentice Readiness Program, which I am extremely proud to acknowledge.

“Everyone involved with the program has demonstrated remarkable ambition and determination through their work at TAFE NSW and commitment to community.” said Ms Mazzeo.

The 15 awards were presented in 12 categories at the event. The full list of award winners are:

Award Category


TAFE NSW study location

The Gili Award

Ashleigh Knight


Encouragement Award

Chenoa Endacott


Encouragement Award

Kalem McLean


Achievement Award

Stephanie Morris

TAFE Digital / Surfside

Achievement Award

Juanella McKenzie

TAFE NSW Campbelltown

Achievement Award

Jeffery Amatto

TAFE NSW Campbelltown

Award for Academic Excellence

Norma Binge

TAFE Digital/ Buderim QLD

Apprentice of the Year Award

Steven Green

TAFE NSW Grafton

TVET Award (Schools)

Kirsten Fitzpatrick

TAFE NSW Bathurst

Non-Aboriginal Staff Award

Bridget Thomas

TAFE NSW Bathurst

Aboriginal Staff Award

Natalie Wilcock & Rebecca Murphy

TAFE Digital

Bruce Kendall Award

Elsie Gordon


Industry Partnership Award

NECA emPOWER Aboriginal Apprentice Readiness Program


Youth Engagement Award

NECA emPOWER Aboriginal Apprentice Readiness Program


Community Engagement Award

Wiradjuri Language




Media contact: Emma Cawley, TAFE NSW Media and Communications Business Partner, mobile 0412 478 415.