Queensland celebrates success at national training awards

Published Saturday, 21 November, 2020 at 10:32 AM

Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development
The Honourable Di Farmer

A Queensland small business and trainee have been named the best in the nation at last night’s Australian Training Awards.

Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer congratulated the winners at the virtual Australian Training Awards 2020 event, streamed from Melbourne to the Queensland ceremony at the Hilton Brisbane.

“Kent Saddlery from Stanthorpe took out the Small Employer of the Year Award with Breanna Cassidy from Tinana on the Fraser Coast named the Australian Trainee of the Year.

“The Small Employer of the Year winners, Lyle and Helen Kent owners of Kent Saddlery, had to cancel their annual visit to outback stations this year due to COVID-19 for the first time in 30 years.

“But they adapted and marketed their handcrafted saddles and leather goods to their country clients through emails and social media.

“The Stanthorpe business has grown from a one-man show to a large-scale operation employing 14 staff and with the ability to train apprentices after leather production was reinstated as a Queensland apprenticeship last year.” 

Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders congratulated the nation's top trainee who comes from his electorate.

“Well done to Breanna Cassidy - she used a traineeship in business with Zip Print Australia to kick start her career and build her confidence, impressing her colleagues and employer with her hard work and commitment," Mr Saunders said.

“The win will give Breanna even more confidence to pursue her career in the printing industry as she undertakes an apprenticeship in graphic pre-press."

Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith praised the efforts of local Braden Hellmuth who was named as runner up in the Australian Apprentice of the Year category.

“It’s a real credit to Braden - after completing a science degree, he used vocational training to change direction and become Greensill Farming Group’s first mechanical engineering apprentice, and he is now their engineering and IT manager,” Mr Smith said.

“The Palaszczuk Government wants to see more trainees and apprentices succeed – it’s good for them and the whole of Queensland – which is why we invest so much to give people the skills they need to realise their goals.”

Minister Farmer said it’s been a week for Queensland wins.

“It’s definitely a time to celebrate the achievements of all our 12 finalists and the Queenslanders honoured at the awards,” Ms Farmer said.

“We’re investing in Queenslanders to get the skills and training they need for jobs now and into the future.

“We have introduced free TAFE for year 12 graduates and free apprenticeships for young Queenslanders.

“Queensland is leading the nation in apprenticeship and traineeship completions and we have more than half the nation’s school-based apprentices and trainees.

“I congratulate TAFE Queensland CEO Mary Campbell, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award for more than 30 years in leadership roles in the vocational education and training sector, and health educator Debbie Blow who was recognised with a National Achievement Award for efforts over more than 20 years addressing healthcare skill shortages and creating partnerships to improve student and employer outcomes.”


The Minister also thanked the hosts of the Queensland event, Hilton Brisbane, which was a Queensland Training Awards winner at the regional level


The Australian Training Awards showcase the national training system and recognise the individuals, employers and training providers demonstrating excellence in vocational education and training.

The Queensland finalists for the 2020 Australian Training Awards are:

  • Australian Apprentice of the Year: Braden Hellmuth from Innes Park near Bundaberg (Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical Trade)
  • Australian Apprentice (Trainee) of the Year: Breanna Cassidy from Tinana near Maryborough (Certificate III in Business)
  • Vocational Student of the Year: Ngaire Trigg from Kirwan, Townsville (Diploma of Community Services)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year: Jabin Giblett from Pullenvale, Brisbane (Certificate III in Barbering)
  • Australian School-based Apprentice of the Year: Jennifer Myers from North Lakes (Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance)
  • VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year: Michelle Clements from Urangan, Hervey Bay
  • Small Employer of the Year: Kent Saddlery in Stanthorpe
  • Medium Employer of the Year: selectability Ltd based in Aitkenvale, Townsville
  • Large Employer of the Year: Hastings Deering (Australia) Ltd based at Archerfield, Brisbane
  • Australian Apprenticeships Employer: Affinity Education Group based in Brisbane
  • Industry Collaboration Award: TAFE Queensland and Rheinmetall Defence Australia Collaboration based in Redbank, Ipswich
  • School Pathways to VET (Direct entry category): Sunshine Coast Technical Trade Training Centre (Caloundra State High School)

For further information on the Queensland Training Awards, visit www.qta.qld.gov.au  or call 1800 660 207.

For further information on the Australian Training Awards, visit https://www.australiantrainingawards.gov.au/

Dropbox link includes images of Queensland’s Australian Training Awards winners and runner-up.




Media Contact: Richard O’Leary 0447155332