​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Tropical North Qu​eensland winners and finalists

Congratulations to the winners and finalists from the Tropical North Queensland region.

Winners were announced at the regional final:

Friday 14 July 2017

The Australian Armour and Artillery Museum

View the Tropical North Queensland regional final dinner program (PDF, 746KB)​.

​The Tropical North Queensland region thanks their sponsors.

Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year

Proudly sponsored by Skill360 Australia


Regional winner: Denica Russ

Qualification: Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician
Training provider: TAFE Queensland North
Group training organisation: Skill360 Australia
Host employer: Rio Tinto Weipa

After realising teaching wasn't the career for her, Denica Russ followed her father and brother into the electrical field. Denica's diligence and drive saw her complete many additional courses during her apprenticeship to complement her electrical qualification. She also took the time to assist her fellow apprentices when they needed help. Denica believes her apprenticeship has opened doors to many exciting future career pathways.

Regional finalists

Jinneecka Don
Qualification: Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
Training provider: C&K College of Early Childhood
Employer: Boopa Werem Kindergarten and Preschool Association Inc

Craig Trenberth
Qualification: Certificate IV in Aeroskills (Mechanical)
Training provider: Aviation Australia
Employer: Hawker Pacific Cairns

Bob Marshman Trainee of the Year

Proudly sponsored by Cairns Regional Council


Regional winner: Nyamie Cedric

Qualification: Certificate III in Community Services Work
Training provider: Cairns Training Academy
Employer: Community Apprenticeships Australia

Nyamie Cedric achieved much more over the course of his traineeship than he originally expected. By engaging with community members and external stakeholders during his traineeship, Nyamie was able to develop several culturally-appropriate programs to help disengaged youth in the local area. A proud Aboriginal Australian, he encourages others to seek training so they can follow their career aspirations.

Regional finalists

Taylor Antoniou
Qualification: Certificate III in Business Administration
Training provider: Skill360 Australia
Employer: Cairns Regional Council

Liam Stingel
Qualification: Certificate III in Retail Operations
Training provider: McDonald's Australia Limited
Employer: Jubcan Venture Pty Ltd

Vocational Student of the Year

Proudly sponsored by TAFE Queensland North


Regional winner: Emma Plant

Qualification: Diploma of Hospitality
Training provider: Club Training Australia
Employer: Port Douglas & District Combined Clubs

Having learned early on that combining work and study was her preferred approach to learning, Emma Plant was eager to undertake a hospitality diploma. Guided by her mantra 'knowledge is growth', Emma's hard work and passion were rewarded by the continuous personal and professional growth she experienced while studying. She now uses her skills from her studies in her new role as a general manager.

Regional finalists

Declan Delargy
Qualification: Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management
Training provider: Horticultural Training Pty Ltd
Employer: Cairns Regional Council

Julie Leake-Hanmer
Qualification: Certificate III in Health Administration
Training provider: TAFE Queensland North
Employer: Assetlink

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year

Proudly sponsored by Rio Tinto Weipa


Regional winner: Nyamie Cedric

Qualification: Certificate III in Community Services Work
Training provider: Cairns Training Academy
Employer: Community Apprenticeships Australia

After his own experiences with unemployment, Nyamie Cedric raised his concerns about disengaged youth with his community Elders. Determined to help youth embark on more positive life and education pathways, Nyamie completed a Certificate III in Community Services Work. The communication and relationship-building skills he learnt in his studies have helped him develop relationships with stakeholders to better support the Indigenous youth in his community.

Regional finalists

Joe Bond
Qualification: Certificate III in Engineering - Mechanical Trade (Maintenance - Diesel Fitting)
Training provider: TAFE Queensland North
Group training organisation: Skill360 Australia
Host employer: Rio Tinto Weipa

Bree Knox
Qualification: Certificate IV in Leadership and Management
Training provider: Leadership Management Australia
Employer: Cairns Regional Council

School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year

Proudly sponsored by Business Liaison Association


Regional winner: Isobel Johnson

Qualification: Certificate III in Agriculture
Training provider: Australian College of Agriculture and Horticulture
Group training​​ organisation: Australian Apprenticeship Support
Host employer: TGT Agriculture
School: Mareeba State High School

Isobel Johnson chose to student an agriculture traineeship so she could combine her two passions — plants and animals. The course's varied content and experiences have helped Isobel identify the areas in agriculture she's most interested in, a vital step as she plans her future career path. Isobel's school-based traineeship also helped her improve her communication and self-reliance skills, and further nurtured her passion for agriculture.

Regional finalists

Joe Rutter
Qualification: Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician
Training provider: TAFE Queensland North
Group training organisation: MEGT Australia​​
Host employer: JPM Electrical
School: Innisfail State College

Britney Wynne
Qualification: Certificate III in Hairdressing
Training provider: TAFE Queensland North
Employer: B'Hive Hair and Beauty
School: Trinity Bay State High School

Equity VET Student of the Year

Proudly sponsored by Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships


Regional winner: Jit Maya Rai

Qualification: Certificate II in Horticulture
Training provider: Centacare
Employer: Wild Bean Cafe Edge Hill

A Bhutanese refugee, Jit Maya Rai wanted to study so she could give back to the community. However, she worried that her age, English skills and minimal education would hold her back. Motivated by her love of gardening, Jit overcome these barriers to complete her Certificate II in Horticulture. She is now employed, volunteers with the Botanic Gardens and aims to complete further horticultural study.

Regional finalists

George Davis
Qualification: Certificate I in Business
Training provider: Far North Training and Consultancy
Employer: MAKRO and Associates Inc

Kate Wood
Qualification: Diploma of Counselling
Training provider: TAFE Queensland North

VET Teacher or Trainer of the Year

Proudly sponsored by Great Barrier Reef International Marine College and TAFE Queensland


Regional winner: Judy Hoskins

A registered nurse with several postgraduate certificates, Judy Hoskins focuses on supporting individuals to succeed. By adjusting course delivery modes to better suit her Indigenous students' learning and literacy needs, Judy has improved retention rates while still instilling high quality skills, knowledge and confidence. She is committed to improving Indigenous health outcomes by training a skilled, sustainable workforce that will remain in their communities.

Regional finalists

Paw Kappel
Employer: Bentley Park College

Neil Wattam
Employer: TAFE Queensland North

Community Training Initiative of the Year

Proudly sponsored by My Pathway


Regional winner: Queensland Police Citizens Youth Welfare Association

Program: Project Booyah
(07) 4053 1532

Project Booyah is an early intervention program helping at-risk youth re-engage with school or transition into the workforce. Participants complete a hospitality qualification and undertake work experience in a field of their choice. Each participant receives individualised support that continues after completion. Long-term improvements in self-esteem and relationships with family and police — along with positive education and employment outcomes — speak to the program's success.

Regional finalists

Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators (AMPTO)
Program: AMPTO Blue Army Crown of Thorns Control Program
0417 600 055

Centacare Cairns
Program: Journey to Jobs
(07) 4044 0130

Large Employer of the Year

Proudly sponsored by Department of Education and Training


Regional winner: Jubcan Venture Pty Ltd

(McDonald's Cairns Central, Cairns Esplanade, Woree, Edmonton, Gordonvale, Innisfail)
(07) 4031 0292

With six McDonald's restaurants in Cairns and Innisfail, Jubcan Venture is committed to quality training. Crew and managers are supported to complete Certificate II to Advanced Diploma qualifications so they have the right tools to succeed in life, regardless of which career path they choose. Approximately 10 per cent of staff undergo on and off-the-job training at any given time, supported by their in-store workplace coach.

Regional finalists

Cairns Regional Council
(07) 4044 3044

Torres Strait Island Regional Council
(07) 4034 5700

Medium Employer of the Year


Regional winner: Robinson Civil Group

(07) 4096 2399

Robinson Civil Group believes that training staff enhances job satisfaction, improves workplace safety and boosts work quality. Nearly a quarter of staff are currently studying VET courses, and all personnel are offered additional training opportunities, including first aid and other short courses. This training focus has allowed the civil engineering business to provide exceptional services to customers, and empowered staff to realise their personal potential.

Regional finalist

1300 325 742

Small Employer of the Year

Proudly sponsored by Ballinger Training and Consultancy


Regional winner: Heritage Hair and Beauty

(07) 4069 9579

Heritage Hair and Beauty is committed to training apprentices to deliver high-quality hairdressing services. The salon employs two apprentices and owner Jane Dickson is also currently studying a trainer assessor qualification to further improve training quality. With tailored training programs and a commitment to excellence, both of the salon's apprentices have developed greater self-esteem, confidence and skills, building their own clientele in the process.

Regional finalist

Port Douglas Automotive
(07) 4099 5177
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Last updated
17 July 2017