Rising to the top
Kyla Wagner named Apprentice of the Year
Former Cobram resident Kyla Wagner has taken out the Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE’s Apprentice of the Year award for Shepparton and Seymour campuses.
The baking apprentice was the overall winner out of eight different trades after answering questions from judges who asked what she had done during her apprenticeship.
The awards, on December 3 at the GV Hotel Shepparton, recognises the achievements of apprentice students and is attended by apprentices, their employers, business owners and guests.
Ms Wagner, 22, was also one of the eight final-year apprentices awarded with an outstanding apprentice achievement award in their respective learning areas.
Ms Wagner recently completed a Certificate III in Retail Baking and works with Beechworth Bakery in Echuca.
Now fully qualified, she said her time at GOTAFE had been a hugely beneficial and rewarding experience.
‘‘Everyone there is so supportive,’’ Ms Wagner said.
‘‘I thought it was going to be just like high school and I didn’t really enjoy high school, but it was completely different, everyone is there for the same reason.’’
Ms Wagner’s trainer Kim Banfield was full of praise for his star student.
‘‘Her willingness to learn and ability to get on with any person from any background or stature made her the perfect candidate to take on competitions like excellence in baking and Worldskills,’’ he said.
‘‘It was a pleasure to have Kyla in our classes and we wish her every success in the future.’’
After finishing school at Cobram Secondary College in Year 11, Ms Wagner had no idea what career path to head in.
A part-time job in the bakery at Woolworths Cobram eventually sparked her desire to enter the trade.
‘‘Once I started seeing the bakers make the bread I became fascinated by it and I’d help out a bit and then I started decorating cakes and things like that which I think really made me want to do it.’’
Ms Wagner started her apprenticeship in Echuca with Beechworth Bakery because no bakery in Cobram was looking for an apprentice at the time, but she became badly homesick and returned home after a year.
She then spent a year at Cobram Bakehouse, but decided to return to Beechworth Bakery.
She said for the immediate future, she plans to remain in Echuca.
‘‘I’m pretty happy there at the moment. Everyone out the back is pretty young and we all get along well.’’
She was hoping to take her studies further.
‘‘Shepparton GOTAFE is trying to get Certificate IV in Retail Baking, so hopefully I can do that.
‘‘I could do it in Melbourne now, but I don’t want to travel.’’
She said Certificate IV would give her skills in management, something she would like to do in the future.
Ms Wagner thanked her bosses at Beechworth Bakery Kylie Divola and Michael Chapman for support throughout her apprenticeship.
Winner: Kyla Wagner with her GOTAFE teacher Kim Banfield after being judged Apprentice of the Year from the Shepparton and Seymour campuses.