Fourteen high achieving Queensland apprentices were crowned Apprentice of the Year in each of their respective trade categories at the prestigious 2023 TAFE Queensland SkillsTech CSQ Apprentice Awards on 16 November at Howard Smith Wharves in Brisbane.
Local Brassall apprentice, Samantha Smith, was awarded Apprentice of the Year in the hotly contested Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Apprentice of the Year category, with Redbank Plains apprentice, Raven Bowman, awarded Plumbing and Gas Fitting Apprentice of the Year.
Now in its sixth year, the Apprentice Awards celebrate high achieving apprentices who are training at TAFE Queensland SkillsTech across 14 trade categories ranging from building and construction categories to light automotive and everything in between.
The 14 individual winners were nominated by either their employers or teachers and were selected from a pool of over 10,000 apprentices who are currently in training across the TAFE Queensland SkillsTech region on campuses including Acacia Ridge, Alexandra Hills, Bracken Ridge and Eagle Farm.
Now in the second year of her apprenticeship, studying a Certificate III in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (UEE32220), Samantha first had the opportunity to pursue her passion for trades when she joined the Royal Australian Navy in 2018 and completed a Marine Technician course .
“We had the choice between four different trade specialisations. Out of the four, I was most interested in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration. I also love a challenge and working in a non-traditional female trade role can certainly be challenging sometimes,” Ms Smith said.
“It’s no secret that being a female in non-traditional trade role has its positives and much less frequently, negatives. Personally, I feel I have overcome a myriad of adversaries so far in my short career including often not feeling physically strong enough for some tasks or even not feeling confident in the use of basic hand tools. Sometimes my voice doesn’t get heard over others, so it’s been important to learn how to speak out when and if I need too..”
Meanwhile, Hairhouse hairdresser Lynka Kohn’s stand-out skills were recognised recently at the Hairhouse Conference and Awards annual event — achieving the Hairhouse ‘Apprentice of the Year’ national title.
Completing her apprenticeship at the Riverlink-based Hairhouse salon has illuminated some exciting future career plans for the talented hairdresser.
“Hopefully this coming year I can go into the ‘Hairdresser of the Year’ category again and win it. It’s exciting,” said Lynka.