Awards recognise trade skills

December 15, 2017

Nine outstanding Benalla GOTAFE students of trades have been recognised by their teachers at a recent awards night.

The Wangaratta and Benalla GOTAFE campuses held their annual trade awards night last Wednesday at the Gateway Hotel in Wangaratta.

Among those awarded on the night were nine Benalla students studying everything from automotive, construction and painting to commercial cookery, carpentry and engineering.

The awards were attended by more than 220 apprentices, employers, sponsors and GOTAFE trainers.

Fifty awards were presented to outstanding pre-apprentices and apprentices in their first four years of training from the automotive, building and construction, electrical, engineering, hairdressing and beauty, hospitality, baking and plumbing learning areas.

Benalla’s Kyle Little, who works at Chris Lowen’s Smash Repairs, was awarded the gold medal for WorldSkills Vehicle Painting, in the regional competition.

Mr Little, 20, said he was glad to have been named the winner of the award, but was nervous on the night to go on stage in front of more than 200 people.

‘‘There was a lot of people there actually — I’m glad I didn’t have to give a speech,’’ he said with a laugh.

‘‘Being at the TAFE is really good, all the teachers help you out a lot, I’ve been there nearly three years now so hopefully I’m nearly done.

‘‘I love my work here with Chris (Lowen), we all get along really well and everyone’s a mate ... Hopefully one day I can open up my own shop, maybe in Yarrawonga,’’ he said.

Matthew Shipard from Brocklesby in NSW took out the top prize when he was announced as GOTAFE’s 2017 Apprentice of the Year for the Wangaratta and Benalla campuses.

Mr Shipard, an engineering apprentice, was one of the eight final-year apprentices who were awarded the Outstanding Apprentice Achievement Award for their respective learning areas.

He recently completed Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade with GOTAFE and works with Ai Group Training Services and Nestle – Uncle Tobys.

‘‘When I was 15 I completed pre-apprenticeships in both automotive and engineering then during Year 12 I was working as a shearer.

‘‘I started working at Nestle and studying a certificate in fitting and turning which I fast-tracked in two-and-a-half years at night school and have just completed my second qualification, Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade in under 12 months,’’ he said.

Mr Shipard said GOTAFE had taught him a lot about fabrication and turning, both theory and practical. He said he now had ‘‘a broad range’’ of skills in fitting and machining.

GOTAFE trainer Greg Keane described Mr Shipard as an extraordinary student.

‘‘Matthew is focused and has a willingness to succeed that I haven’t seen in a student for a very long time. He has an unwavering desire to get work done.

‘‘If I had a class full of Matthew Shipards I’d be a very happy camper. Whatever Matthew does I am sure he will succeed,’’ he said.

Mr Shipard also recently won at the Wodonga Council Red Carpet Youth Awards. Last year he was named the Ai Group Apprentice of the Month.

Along with his time at GOTAFE, he is a volunteer firefighter, enjoys tennis and last year joined a mission to Papua New Guinea.

Mr Shipard plans to one day set up his own business and continue working on the family farm.

GOTAFE also celebrated the achievements of its apprentice students from the Seymour and Shepparton campuses on Monday, December 4 at the GV Hotel in Shepparton.

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