THE best apprentices and trainees from around the region have been rewarded for their incredible efforts, at the 2022 New England Training Awards ceremony in Tamworth on Friday night.
Lachlan Butler took out the top prize, named Apprentice of the Year, as a result of his work as an engineer with Boss Engineering, while a number of other up-and-comers also received a nod.
Mr Butler said it was an honour to take out the major award, and hopes it's just the beginning of a long career in the industry.
"I was in disbelief, as if it were a dream or wasn't real, and I was proud to feel that all my hard work paid off," he said.
"I've had a passion for the industry since I was in year 9 at Bingara central, where I designed and built a dog box from pipe and cattle rail."
From here, he wants to complete his cert IV in metals and fabrication, then be in a position to pass his knowledge and skills on to others, as he strives to see everyone become the "best versions of themselves".
NSW Department of Industry New England training services manager, Bede Maher, said the awards are highly sought after and put the winners, and even finalists, on a great pathway.
"This is a major event for the region, it's an opportunity to be able to recognise high achievers," he said.
"They're deemed to be winners and high achievers through studying their qualifications, through the support of the training organisations and also their family members who have been supporting them along their pathway."
Other local winners on the night included VET Trainer/Teacher of the Year Warren Julius, also of Inverell, who is studying Distribution Electricity - Powerline; Armidale's Emma Pearson who was named Vocational Student of the Year completing a Certificate IV in Wool Classing; and School-based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year, studying a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, Tara Vickery, from Rocky River.
The winners will now go on to represent their categories at the 2022 NSW Training Awards to be held at Sydney Town Hall on September 16.
Mr Maher said it's an incredible opportunity to be able to show off their dedication and tenacity on a bigger stage.
"It's a huge feather in the cap to be the top achiever in the particular category, and one hopes they would be able to go on and compete against people from all over NSW," he said.
"If they were to be a winner at the state level it's certainly a huge achievement for them and for the employers that take them on.
"At the end of the day we're very grateful for the opportunity these people take on board as far as going into an apprenticeship, and they're recognised for the work they do."
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