2018 AEN Awards Finalists Announced


This year AEN received a record number of entries for our annual awards.

The 2018 AEN Annual Award finalists are:

ATOA Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Australian Super

Winner receives $250 gift card

Daniel Aarons – Gforce – Certificate III in Automotive

Despite Daniel being a 2nd Year apprentice, he is taking on highly complex jobs at a level well above anticipated for a 2nd year. Daniel is gaining confidence with working on many different makes and models of cars. He has excelled in his TAFE training and has completed Mitsubishi Manufacturer training. Daniel consistently received positive feedback from customers and has been recognised by Gforce as Apprentice of the Year in 2017.

Thofan Boontham – SMGT – Certificate III in Commercial Cookery

In 2014, Thofan moved from Bangkok to Boundary Bend (VIC/NSW border) to start Year 11. After expressing interest in becoming a chef, Robinvale P-12 College arranged Thofan to do work experience at Euston Club Resort. After seeing her talent, the resort offered Thofan a full-time apprenticeship to complete a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery. Thofan has excelled at her schooling – winning SuniTAFE’s 2016 ‘Chefs of the Future’ competition, representing Victoria at the ‘WorldSkills Competition’ in June this year and being a finalist in the 2018 Victorian State Training awards.

Ethan Hardwick – CVGT – Certificate III in Mobile Plant Technology

After finishing Dux of Bendigo Secondary College in 2014 and submitting a very impressive resume to CVGT, the CVGT panel unanimously decided to award Ethan a scholarship. Shortly after commencing his apprenticeship with Andy’s Earthmovers, Ethan applied to the CVGT board for funding to buy tools and was provided a grant of $2,000. Ethan’s ability has been recognised with his selection to work beside the best Caterpillar diesel technicians in Australia in their ‘white room’ workshop, working on the latest designs and technology.

Katrina Palmer – Gforce – 5th Year Electrical & Instrumentation

Since commencing her apprenticeship in 2014, Katrina has been engaging with the community to promote women in trades. Her involvement with Geelong Women in Trades saw her assisting with planning a Cambodia trip to help Volunteer Building Cambodia to build a house for a poor rural family. Her recognitions include RMIT Best 1st Year Apprentice, RMIT Best 2nd Year Apprentice and the WorldSkills National and Regional level competitor for Electrical installation. Katrina believes being part of Geelong Women is Trades is helping her lead the way for more young women to begin a trade.

Nathan Ramsbotham – AGA – Certificate III in Carpentry

Nathan completed his carpentry apprenticeship in March 2018 after deciding to leave his management role in the grocery field. He knew the transition into an adult apprenticeship at 31 would be a challenging yet rewarding step for his career. With only 4 months remaining to complete his 4 year term, Nathan was hosted to Hansen Yunken which saw him hit the books again to train as a junior forman. Nathan was employed directly as a foreman and given the responsibility of running 2 levels of a hospital refurbishment. Nathan won both the Construction Trades Award and the Best Overall Apprentice Award in AGA’s 2018 training awards.

Trainee of the Year – Sponsored by VicSuper

Winner receives $250 gift card

Abbey Halton – Gforce – Certificate III in Companion Animal Services

Abbey believes in following your dreams to pursue something you’re passionate about, and is determined to secure employment as a vet nurse. Abbey was placed at Newtown Vet to complete her school-based traineeship and has been assisting with monitoring anaesthetics, giving and calculating medication and injections and surgeries. Newtown Vet saw Abbey’s commitment and offered her a position as a kennel hand where she provided care for dogs staying in the clinic overnight. Abbey won the School-Based Trainee Excellence Award with the Gordon in 2017.

Kyle Lancaster – Programmed – Certificate IV in Telecommunications Engineering Technology

During his traineeship, Kyle has been fortunate enough to rotate through various technology groups within Telstra networks and during this time has helped improve his team efficiency and reporting which has been recognised by both Telstra and Programmed. Through volunteering involvement with Indigenous community organisations Kyle has helped to provide a greater understanding of how telecommunications can improve lives on a daily basis.

Craig McCauley – CVGT – Certificate IV in Operating Theatre Support

Having previously worked in manual occupations, Craig’s change in career was logical; his wife suffers from an immune-deficiency illness which sees her in and out of hospital. Since starting his traineeship in 2017, Craig has completed both Certificate III and IV in Operation Support and has now accepted ongoing fulltime employment at Bendigo Day Surgery (BDS). Craig has improved the storage of medical supplies reducing the need to constantly reorder stock. Staff are confident in Craig’s ability and are now introducing him to other duties supporting nurses in recovery and anaesthetics.

Lucy Smeaton – AFL Sports Ready – Certificate III in Business

Lucy has brought an undeniable vibe to her host employer, Telstra, which has helped develop a great working atmosphere and culture. Lucy delivered a speech to Indigenous school girls at a large Telstra store describing her vulnerabilities when she first started her traineeship and the positive growth and development she has experienced since. Being a fulltime foster carer for her cousin’s two toddlers has not stopped Lucy being able to complete her traineeship. She was also nominated for AFLSR Trainee of the Year 2018 and was a Top 3 Finalist for Trainee of the Year at the Victorian Training Awards.

Rosalie Summers – Westvic Staffing Solutions – Certificate III in Business

Rosalie sees her completed traineeship as just a stepping stone to further training and development, in particular a Diploma of Community Services. Just four weeks into her traineeship, Rosalie was asked to assist in organising KIRNA Aboriginal committee meetings. Now a chairperson of the KIRNA Committee and a member of NAIDOC Committee of South West Healthcare, Rosalie has proven to be an effective ambassador. This has assisted her in overcoming personal barriers and she now displays confidence and strong leadership skills.

STAR (Stop Taking A Risk) Apprentice/Trainee OHS Award – Sponsored by EML

Winner receives $250 gift card

Joel Hancock-Bice – BGT – Engineering Fabrication Apprentice

Joel always ensures that safety protocols are followed, ensuring correct Personal Protective Equipment is worn at all times. Joel completes are safety checklist to ensure any potential hazards and risks are properly captured and addressed. Joel has become a mentor for new apprentices within his designated work area and is responsible for training these apprentices in the correct application of OHS protective equipment. Joel is keen to join MaxiTRANS’ OHS committee in the future and currently works alongside an OHS Representative who strongly believes Joel would be an invaluable member in the committee.

Jayden Mollica – Programmed – Electrical & Instrumentation Apprentice

Jayden understands the importance of wearing correct PPE according to the task being completed. He has consistently demonstrated safe work practices and his site supervisors have commended him on numerous occasions on the level of safety dedication he displays in the workplace. Jayden has been recognised for actively and positively participating in the toolbox talks and is confident in completing JSAs before beginning a task to ensure he becomes familiar with the tools and machines and the Safe Work Method Statement.

Brody Murphy – Gforce – Certificate III in Horticulture

In a very short time, Brody has changed the attitudes of many of his peers by setting and leading an excellent safety culture. He has taken the initiative to create his own personal safety bag and ensures each morning that his PPE safety bag is ready to go. Brody has accepted the responsibility of Werribee Park’s OHS Representative and is constantly checking that all staff and contractors on site are adhering to safety policies and procedures. Brody is not afraid to call out unsafe behaviour if required and ensures Werribee Parks work-centre health and well-being notice board is regularly checked and kept up to date.

GTO Service Excellence Award – Sponsored by MARSH

  • AGA – AGA SEAT Program
  • Skillinvest – Jobs Victoria Indigenous Employment Program
  • Westvic Staffing Solutions – Glenormiston Agriculture Employment Program
  • Victorian Group Training – Speak Up

Thank you to everyone that took the time and effort to enter the awards.

The caliber of nominations was extremely high which made the judges decisions tough.

Congratulations to all finalists.