Two local TAFE NSW students were awarded School Based Trainee of the Year and VET in Schools Student of the Year at the 2023 NSW Training Awards on Friday night.
17-year-old Hillvue local, Molly Smith, and 18-year-old Somerton resident, Elizabeth King, both accepted the awards for their studies in the Certificate III in Health Services Assistance at TAFE NSW Tamworth.
The annual awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of students, trainees, and apprentices in the vocational education and training sector, with finalists representing the best in their field.
Accepting the award for School Based Trainee of the Year, Molly Smith said she was thrilled to come out on top.
“I am absolutely shocked to have won, but it means the absolute world and has really solidified all my hard work so far. I want to show kids, including those from regional towns, that there’s more than just one pathway to success and vocational training can open so many doors,” Molly said.
“Through TAFE NSW training, I’ve had the privilege of working at Tamworth Base Hospital as a school-based trainee for the past two years and will be transferring to an Assistant in Nursing role when I finish my course.
“My goal is to spread the word that vocational education and training is the best way to gain job-ready skills and it provides a steppingstone to work, university, or other study.
“I’m looking forward to progressing through to the National Awards and continuing to mentor the next generation of students and encouraging them to follow their passion.”
VET in Schools Student of the Year, Elizabeth King, said it was a rewarding feeling to be named the best out of a strong list of nominees.
“I’ve worked extremely hard to get to this point, and it means a lot to be recognised for my efforts. It is incredibly special to see how far I’ve come through my studies at TAFE NSW, and to be a part of the vocational education and training sector,” Elizabeth said.
“I want to encourage people from all walks of life to explore a vocational education path as it allows you to gain job-ready skills and can open so many doors. Vocational education and training is the future of the workforce.
“I would never have imagined I’d become an Educational Pathways VET Ambassador and progress to the National Awards, but it has been incredibly rewarding and special to mentor the next generation of students.”
TAFE NSW Chief Delivery Officer Janet Schorer said the competition was strong, with TAFE NSW finalists representing a range of in-demand industries providing critical services to NSW communities.
“Winning an NSW Training Award is an outstanding achievement, and it’s significant that many of our winners are from regional communities,” said Ms Schorer.
“In the Tamworth region, the health industry employs over 5,400 workers, accounting for 17% of the local workforce.
“Molly and Elizabeth are an example of the high-quality graduates TAFE NSW is training to meet skills demand now and into the future.”
TAFE NSW was also named a finalist in Large Training Provider of the Year.
“It’s great to see TAFE NSW recognised as a leading provider of education and training. It’s a testament to our industry-qualified teachers and the job-ready skills they deliver to students across NSW,” Ms Schorer said.
NSW Training Award winners now progress to the Australian Training Awards, which will be held in Hobart on 17 November.