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Too deadly: Inspiring Trish claims top awards gong


Too deadly: Inspiring Trish claims top awards gong

TOO DEADLY: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year, Patricia Espie-Whitburn (middle), with former Member for Riverina Kay Hull and current Member for Riverina Michael McCormack at Friday night’s 2019 Riverina Training Awards.

17 June, 2019

A TAFE NSW graduate says she hopes to inspire other young Indigenous learners after being announced as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year at the 2019 Riverina Training Awards on Friday night.

Patricia Espie-Whitburn, a mum-of-one who recently completed studies as a mature-aged student at TAFE NSW, said she was “overwhelmed” at winning the award.

TAFE NSW students claimed four of the six awards on offer at the Training Services NSW event.

“I’m just flattered to be considered for this award and overwhelmed that I won it,” Ms Espie-Whitburn said.

“I’m very proud to have achieved this personally and it’s great for everyone in the Aboriginal community to see an Aboriginal person being recognised like this.

“I’d really like to thank my family for putting up with the time it takes to dedicate to study and also thank my TAFE NSW teachers.”

Ms Espie-Whitburn, who graduated with a Diploma of Aboriginal Studies for Professional and Community Practice, is now working as an Aboriginal Engagement Coordinator at TAFE NSW Tumut.

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 the region’s most passionate, industrious and skilful students, and the result is a glowing endorsement for the quality of education and training provided by TAFE NSW,” 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 success exemplified the commitment of TAFE NSW to train 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,” she said.

“It’s very gratifying for TAFE NSW staff to watch these students grow and transform their lives through education.”

The annual Training Services NSW event recognises and rewards the outstanding achievements of vocational students and demonstrates the extent of quality in the vocational education and training sector.

The winners of the Riverina Training Awards will be considered for the NSW Training Awards, which will be held in Sydney this September.

The full list of awards won by TAFE NSW students included:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year - Patricia Espie-Whitburn
  • Apprentice of the Year - Evan Gargaro
  • Trainee of the Year - Samuel Heffernan
  • Vocational Education Training Student of the Year - Clare Gibbs

To find out more about studying at TAFE NSW for semester two, phone 13 16 01 or visit