Tropical North Queensland brings home Queensland Training Awards state honours

Published Saturday, 09 September, 2023 at 11:03 PM

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


  • Three Tropical North Queenslanders – including two from Napranum and one from Cairns – were recognised for their contributions and achievements in the training sector at the state titles of the 62nd Queensland Training Awards.
  • The state winners were announced at the Queensland Training Awards event at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre tonight (Saturday 9 September 2023).
  • A total of 14 winners took home state honours and are now in the running for national recognition at the Australian Training Awards in Hobart, Tasmania on Friday 17 November 2023.


The 2023 Queensland Training Awards provides the state’s top prize for outstanding achievements in vocational education and training (VET) statewide.

It recognises apprentices, trainees, vocational students, teachers, and trainers, as well as training providers and employers, with the 2023 state awards including three Tropical North Queensland finalists.

The winners in the individual categories are:

  • Vocational Student of the Year – Cairns’ Jessica Addo is a PCYC Outside School Hours Care Supervisor and has completed her Certificate IV and a Diploma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education through Remote Area Teacher Education Program (RATEP) and TAFE Queensland.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year – Napranum’s Shaniqua Burke completed a Certificate III in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care with TAFE Queensland and is currently helping her local community as a trainee health worker at Apunipima Cape York Health Council.
  • School Based Apprentice of the Year – Napranum’s Kyezaya Namai-Sabatino, a Year 12 Western Cape College student, completed his school-based diesel fitting traineeship through MRAEL and is continuing to work with Rio Tinto, Weipa.

Quotes attributable to the Member for Cairns Michael Healy

“Being a regional winner is already an amazing achievement but taking home a state title is an incredible feat, which is what our three regional winners did at this year’s Queensland Training Awards state finals.

“We have many high-achievers in our wonderful community and this year’s Queensland Training Awards successes highlighted that.

“Jessica, Shaniqua and Kyezaya have shone a light on just how good training in the tropical north is."

Quotes attributable to the Member for Cook Cynthia Lui:  

“These Awards highlight the great work the Palaszczuk Government is doing to strengthen our local communities – providing great training and keeping jobs local.

“Queensland has some of the best talent in Australia so it is a remarkable achievement for a small community like Narpanum to take out two of the state’s awards.

“Congratulations to our winners – not only have you made our region and community proud, but Queensland too.

“I can’t wait to see Shaniqua, Kyezaya and Jessica representing not just the tropical north but the whole of Queensland at the national awards in November.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer:

“The Queensland Training Awards highlight our top achievers in training and showcase the power of skills.

“It is great to see Tropical North Queensland take out three awards this year, and I hope this will inspire more local people to pursue their own goals through vocational education and training.

“Having local winners recognised is a great result for these regions and their incredible stories highlight how training in Queensland leads to new and exciting opportunities.

“Congratulations to all the state winners – we are so proud of you and can’t wait to see you represent Queensland at the Australian Training Awards in November.”


Photos of the winners can be found in the link below:


Explainer/fast fact and or further information:

The state winners were announced at the Queensland Training Awards State Final Gala Presentation dinner at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in South Brisbane on Saturday 9 September 2023.

This year state-wide nominations increased by more than 40 per cent from last year with over 210 regional finalists selected from more than 800 nominations.

The Queensland Government invests more than $1.2 billion annually in training and skills and that investment is a driving force behind the Good people. Good jobs: Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022-2032


Full list of statewide winners: 

Individual award categories

Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year – Gabrielle Clift, Darling Downs South West (Toowoomba)

Bob Marshman Trainee of the Year – Charlotte Ross, South East (Gold Coast)

Vocational Student of the Year – Jessica Addo, Tropical North Queensland (Cairns)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year – Shaniqua Burke, Tropical North Queensland (Napranum)

School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year – Kyezaya Namai-Sabatino, Tropical North Queensland (Western Cape College, Weipa)

Equity Student of the Year – Dean Clark, South East (Gold Coast)

VET Teacher or Trainer of the Year – Craig Jones, UQ Skills (Gatton), Darling Downs South West

 Organisation award categories

Community Training Initiative of the Year – Everything Suarve Inc, South East (Logan)

Large Employer of the Year – White’s IGA, North Coast (Sunshine Coast)

Medium Employer of the Year – All Purpose Transport, South East (Berrinba)

Small Employer of the Year – McCarthy Panel Works Pty Ltd, Central Queensland (North Mackay)

State direct entry

Large Training Provider of the Year – TAFE Queensland (Queensland)

Small Training Provider of the Year – Demi International (Queensland)

Premier’s Industry Collaboration Award – Programmed Training Services (Gladstone)


Media contact:  Gary Shipway – 0458 090 906