South East Queensland celebrates the best of training

Published Friday, 11 September, 2020 at 05:55 PM

Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

A former Australian rock band member and an ex-professional rugby league player are among 77 regional winners named in an online ceremony for this year’s Queensland Training Awards.


Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman said while this year’s event was unlike past celebrations, it continued to recognise the highest achieving individuals, organisations and projects in Queensland’s training system.


“These awards shine a spotlight on our top achievers in training from across the state and it’s fantastic to announce the regional winners in the Queensland Training Awards,” Ms Fentiman said.


“I congratulate our winners and finalists from more than 700 nominations across a broad range of skills and industries from seven Queensland regions.


“And all of them play an important role in ensuring we have the skilled workforce needed for the jobs now and into the future."

Minister Fentiman said it had been a tough year for economies across the world but the Palaszczuk Government remained steadfastly committed to backing every Queenslander through quality training opportunities.

“The Palaszczuk Government’s strong health response to the global pandemic has allowed Queensland to stay more open than other states,” she said.

“With many of our construction sites, restaurants and shops open for business – local apprentices and trainees have been able to continue gaining valuable experience.

“As we continue to deliver Queensland’s $8 billion plan for economic recovery, we know that training and upskilling will be critical.

“We’re building on our achievements – including Free apprenticeships for under 21s and Free tafe for year 12 graduates – to create a resilient and adaptable workforce.”


Member for Redlands Kim Richards said there were 31 finalists for the South East region with 11 winners announced today that will go on to the state awards this month.


“In the South East region we have Colin Thompson take out the award for VET Teacher/Training of the Year who has been passing on his vast trade knowledge for over 35 years,” Ms Richards said.


“We also have Juan Corredor who believes in life-long learning and has completed numerous qualifications since migrating to Australia from Columbia in 2007 and is now an environmental manager at Darwalla Group and has won the award for VET Student of the Year.”


Member for Gaven Meaghan Scanlon said there were winners from a range of industries on the Gold Coast and across the State.


“We have some amazing winners from our small, medium and large employer award categories that work in a range of industries — from hairdressers, mechanics and a saddlery through to hotels, aged care homes, mental health service providers, mining operators and local councils,” Ms Scanlon said.


“It’s wonderful to see Alex Lees from the Gold Coast has taken our both Apprentice of the Year and Equity VET student for our region.


“After overcoming physical challenges following a motorcycle accident it’s great to see he has been setting records in sales and securing an apprenticeship at Von Bibra Motors Group.


“Congratulations to each and every one of the winners and finalists.”


The Minister said the 77 regional winners are now finalists for the state award in their category, which will be announced next week on 18 September.


“Joining these winners are nine finalists for the Small Training Provider of the Year, Large Training Provider of the Year and Premier’s Industry Collaboration Award categories,” the Minister said.


“The field for this year’s Premier’s Industry Collaboration Award is very unique.


“There’s a program teaching Central Queensland high school students to be drone pilots, TAFE Queensland and Rheinmetall Defence Australia training high level welding skills, and a group of local councils training their water industry workers together.


“Picking the state winners from these 86 wonderful finalists must have been a challenge for the judges but it is excellent that we can acknowledge the hard work and commitment each has shown to make it this far.


“Celebrating our highest achievers is especially important as we all work to get our economy growing again while preventing the spread of COVID-19.”

Through the Free apprenticeships for under 21s program and Free tafe for year 12 graduates program, the Palaszczuk Government has supported more than 24,400 young Queenslanders.


South East region winners:


Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year:

Alex Lees


Bob Marshman Trainee of the Year:

Shannon McNamara


Vocational Student of the Year:

Juan Corredor


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year:

Emilie Bevan


School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year:

Jayden Ballinger


Equity VET Student of the Year:

Alex Lees


VET Teacher or Trainer of the Year:

Colin Thompson


Community Training Initiative of the Year:

Kidz Foodz


Large Employer of the Year:

Frizelle Sunshine Automotive


Medium Employer of the Year:

Goldmakk PTY LTD


Small Employer of the Year:

Thom & Ann's


For the full list of Queensland Training Award regional winners and state finalists visit:




Media contact:          Inga Williams             0439 949 719