Mackay family business brings home Queensland Training Award state honour

Published Saturday, 09 September, 2023 at 11:05 PM

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


  • North Mackay’s McCarthy Panel Works has been awarded the Small Employer of the Year at 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).
  • McCarthy Panel Works is among 14 winners who took home state honours and is 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 a Central Queensland finalist.

North Mackay’s McCarthy Panel Works, family-owned business, was awarded Small Employer of the Year for their dedication to train and upskill the next generation to strengthen the mechanical industry.

Over 52 years Craig and Andrea McCarthy and their team have initiated 31 Apprentice Training Contracts, including successful programs for individuals with disabilities.

The automotive repair shop contributes to the industry and community through partnerships, mentoring, and training programs and offers extended training to technicians to bridge the gap between apprentice learning and new technologies.

Quotes attributable to the Member for Mackay: Julieanne Gilbert

““It is great to see McCarthy Panel Works take home an award this year for their exceptional support of their employees and their community and I hope this will inspire more of our local students and employers to pursue their goals through vocational education and training.

“Being a regional winner is already an amazing achievement but taking home a state title is an incredible feat.

“These Awards highlight how the Palaszczuk Government is strengthening our local communities – providing great training and keeping jobs local.

“Congratulations to Craig and Andrea – not only have you made our region and community proud but Queensland too.”

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.

“The Queensland Government is ensuring all Queenslanders have opportunities to grow their skills with relevant training and get a great job and I’m pleased to see so many great examples of this tonight.

“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