Ef­fort worth it

Ap­pren­tice named best in the state

Benalla Ensign - - Front Page - By Si­mon Rup­pert

For­mer Be­nalla Col­lege stu­dent Jeremy Con­nell won the 2017 Vic­to­rian Ap­pren­tice of the Year award at a cer­e­mony in Mel­bourne last week.

The Wan­garatta En­gi­neer­ing ap­pren­tice said he never thought he had a chance of win­ning the award.

‘‘It was fan­tas­tic. You just can’t fathom it ever hap­pen­ing to you, so it’s still quite sur­real at the mo­ment,’’ Jeremy said.

‘‘I was lucky enough to win an ap­pren­tice of the year award for Be­nalla GOTAFE which made me el­i­gi­ble to be en­tered into the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion. But I never as­sumed I would have got this far. I never guessed it would ac­tu­ally hap­pen.’’

State Mem­ber for Euroa and Skills, Train­ing and Ap­pren­tice­ships Shadow Min­is­ter Steph Ryan said the award was a great credit to Jeremy, his fam­ily, Be­nalla Col­lege, his work­place and his teach­ers at GOTAFE.

‘‘The award ac­knowl­edges an ap­pren­tice who has been out­stand­ing in their trade,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘For an ap­pren­tice, it is the equiv­a­lent of tak­ing home the Os­car for best ac­tor.

‘‘Hope­fully recog­ni­tion of the great work ap­pren­tices like Jeremy are do­ing in­spire other young peo­ple to recog­nise the value in un­der­tak­ing an ap­pren­tice­ship.’’

Jeremy’s jour­ney to win­ning this award be­gan at school.

‘‘ I used to go to high school at Be­nalla Col­lege, now P-12. That’s where I started ma­chine tech, which in­tro­duced me to en­gi­neer­ing,’’ Jeremy said.

‘‘From there I did a week’s work ex­pe­ri­ence, and then pe­rused a school­based ap­pren­tice­ship with Wan­garatta En­gi­neer­ing.

‘‘From there they of­fered me a full-time ap­pren­tice­ship.

‘‘We’ve got a very di­verse work­place and we get to work on many dif­fer­ent things.

‘‘They are very help­ful and sup­port­ive of me, and if a new job comes in that I haven’t had ex­pe­ri­ence with, they hold it and let me have a go so I get to gain as much in­dus­try and work­place ex­pe­ri­ence as I can.’’

Jeremy rec­om­mends tak­ing on an ap­pren­tice­ship as a way of gain­ing em­ploy­ment and learn­ing a lot along the way.

‘‘It was a fan­tas­tic way for me to learn the in­dus­try and learn what would be re­quired of me in that job,’’ he said. ‘‘It made it sim­ple for me to de­cide that this is what I wanted to do.’’

● To learn more about be­com­ing an ap­pren­tice visit www.ed­u­ca­tion.vic.gov.au/ train­ing/learn­ers/ap­pren­tices

Award: Vic­to­rian Ap­pren­tice of the Year Jeremy Con­nell with his boss Heath Lloyd and Mem­ber for Euroa Steph Ryan at the award cer­e­mony.

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