2017 NSW Training Awards Success for Skillset

2017 NSW Training Awards Success for Skillset

Adrian Flipo (TAFENSW), Jane McWilliam and Craig Randazzo (Skillset) accept the Industry Collaboration Award

Skillset Workforce celebrated an historic night last night being involved in three wins at the 2017 NSW Training Awards in Sydney. Skillset Workforce and TAFE NSW took out the Industry Collaboration award for the life-changing Skills4Trade and Pledge250 Program, Skillset apprentice Brad Ingham from Orange won the Excellence in Trade Skills Award and Skillset apprentice Donald Dundas from Coonabarabran won the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year.

Skillset CEO Craig Randazzo said he couldn’t be prouder of the apprentices, his staff and the programs Skillset delivered. “To see these young people grow and develop the skills we need for the future, and to be providing jobs for them is reward enough, so to receive this recognition is unbelievable.”Skills4Trade was launched in 2016 as part of a coordinated approach to address regional youth unemployment. Since then it has successfully helped increase trainee and apprenticeship participation and completion rates in the region, and helped many students gain important and highly sought after skills.  Craig said it was an endorsement of the program’s commitment to sustainable jobs for young people across the region. “We have to also thank the hundreds of businesses across the Central West who hosted work placements for Skills4Trade participants, pledged on-going jobs and changed literally hundreds of lives as a result.” The Skills4Trade/Pledge25 Program will now progress to the Australian Training Awards finals in Canberra in November.

Ben Ruddy (Skillset Workforce) Brad Ingham and Chris Hutchinson (Hort Enterprises)



Bradley Ingham upstaged thousands of talented competitors from across the state to win the Excellence in Trade Skills award. This success follows news in August that Brad gained a place to represent the Australian Skillaroos team in the prestigious WorldSkills competition in Abu Dhabi in October this year. Brad attended TAFE NSW Orange.  “I was absolutely stunned when they called out my name,” an extremely proud Brad said. “It’s been an amazing year for me personally – first winning my way to compete in Abu Dhabi and now this state-wide award. It’s exciting and I’m very proud of what I’ve been able to achieve this year.”  Brad’s mentor from Hort Enterprises in Orange where he is employed, Chris Hutchinson, believes this recognition is thoroughly deserved. “Brad is very humble and while he may be surprised by this success, I’m certainly not,” Mr Hutchinson said. “Brad has been a real asset to the company right from day one. He’s passionate about learning and the industry, hard-working, extremely talented and a very deserving winner.”

Donald Dundas

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year, Donald Dunstan said he was very surprised by his win. “I went to the awards not expecting much, so I was very surprised when they announced me as the winner,” an extremely proud and humble Donald said. “To consider the journey that I have been on and the fact that there were thousands of people eligible for this award, it’s a massive achievement to be named the best in NSW and something I’m very proud of.”  Donald’s mentor, Warrumbungle Shire Council’s Harold Sutton, believes his recognition is well deserved. “This success might have come as a surprise for Donald, but I’m not surprised at all,” Mr Sutton said. “I think it’s fantastic that the judges have acknowledged how talented, hard-working, dedicated and skilful Donald is. He always demonstrates integrity and diligence in his work – he’s an exceptional asset to council.” Donald studied Plumbing at TAFE NSW Tamworth.  Donald will now progress to the Australian Training Award finals where he hopes to add to his long list of achievements. “I would be speechless if I won the Australian award,” Donald said. “It would mean a lot to everyone who has supported me on this journey if I was to win, but I am also very proud to have made it this far.”



Skillset CEO Craig Randazzo and TAFE NSW VET Delivery Director Andrew Crowley

Skillset and TAFE NSW have received state-wide recognition for an exciting partnership that continues to deliver outstanding results for young people in the central west.

The organisations have been selected as finalists in the Industry Collaboration category in the prestigious NSW Training Awards for their life-changing Skills4Trade Program.

Skills4Trade was launched in 2016 as part of a coordinated approach to address regional youth unemployment. Since then it has successfully helped increase trainee and apprenticeship participation and completion rates in the region, and helped many students gain important and highly sought after skills. “Skills4Trade is an excellent example of industry collaboration focused on building a sustainable and long-term model of pre-apprenticeship training, work skills and a supportive pathway to jobs for young people,” Skillset CEO Craig Randazzo said. “This state level recognition is testament to the experience and expertise of both organisations and their ability to deliver successful training and employment outcomes for young people.”

TAFE NSW VET Delivery Director Andrew Crowley said Skills4Trade was a multi- faceted program that incorporated training by TAFE and a jobs focus by Skillset. “We focus on offering engaging and practical trade learning activities for the students, while Skillset help students get work trials, help with job creation and career planning through a number of innovative initiatives,” he said. “TAFE is very proud to be involved in such a worthwhile program that continues to deliver outstanding results for young people in western NSW.”

Applications are currently being taken for the next round of Skills4Trade programs commencing at the end of September in Bathurst, Orange, Dubbo and Mudgee. Call 1300 853 525 or visit www.skillset.com.au. The NSW Training Awards are being held in Sydney on September 7th.

Calves shine a light on Dairy Industry

Calves shine a light on Dairy Industry

There was great excitement among students from Skillset Senior College earlier this week when two, seven week old jersey calves were delivered to our school.

The calves, belonging to a local farmer from Canowindra, are part of Dairy Australia’s innovative program ‘Cows Create Careers’ Farm Module. Delivered across 23 dairying regions, the program aims to encourage young people to consider a career in the dairy industry.

Rearing the three-week-old calves at school is at the heart of the program. “Students will be required to feed the calves twice a day, as well as look after and monitor them to help instill an appreciation of what is required to keep livestock healthy” said Mark, Skillset Senior College’s Agriculture teacher. “It also hopes to showcase the Dairy industry as a real and potential career avenue” he added.

Students also complete theoretical modules, are introduced to vocational and university pathways and learn about the linkages between educational and employment sectors. The ‘Cow’s Create Careers’ program kicked off in 2004 and is now offered in over 200 schools, with nearly 12,000 students participating each year.

Abbey Barrett, Manager for Education at Skillset Senior College said “the students just light up when they come in contact with animals. This is such an innovative program and we are so pleased that our students are so keen to participate. One of the calves is already known as Princess. Not sure what the second calf will be called just yet but I’m sure we won’t have long to wait.”

Princess and her calf mate will call Skillset Senior College home for the next three weeks.

Local apprentice scoops coveted State award

Local apprentice scoops coveted State award

Local winner, Laura Burgett, flanked by colleagues from Spatial Services and Skillset Workforce staff.

It was announced recently that Bathurst based apprentice, Laura Burgett, employed by Skillset and based at Spatial Services, had been awarded this year’s Heidelberg-Lithographic Institute Association Graduate of the Year for NSW. Laura was presented with her award at special ceremony in Sydney, flanked by family, colleagues and support staff from Skillset.

Laura was thrilled to see her work acknowledged at this level. “I didn’t really expect to win” she said. “But it was a nice surprise”. To make her award even sweeter, Peter Munro, Chairman of Judges, described the line-up of five finalists for this year as “the best ever!”

Matthew McRobert, Manager of Graphic Services and Laura’s boss said “We would have been surprised if she had not won, only because she is such an outstanding candidate in every way! She has worked on a wide range of projects, completing them all to a very high standard and to wide acclaim.”

“We are just so proud of her” he added. “It’s lovely for us to see someone within our team get recognition for their work at a State level. It also proves that our apprentice program continues to successfully find and develop staff to such a high caliber”.

The talented graphic prepress apprentice is not only a trained graphic designer, but has also completed a Bachelor of Business from Charles Stuart University and has studied 3D modelling and printing at TAFE NSW.

Laura is obviously one hard working young woman, but she also attributes her success to working in such a supportive environment. “I’m pretty lucky to work at Spatial Services” she added. “They give me lots of responsibility and the chance to get involved with some really interesting, diverse and creative work” she said.

With heavy hearts we farewell the final Bathurst Green Army team

With heavy hearts we farewell the final Bathurst Green Army team

9 young people graduated from the final Green Army project in the Bathurst region today at Skillset’s Flannery Centre. This was the fifth and final project over a 2 year period for the area and a large crowd gathered to mark the occasion. Mayor Graeme Hangar thanked all participants on behalf of the community for the great work they have completed and Skillset Environment Manager Ashley Bland thanked Council for being a supportive and proactive Host.

The Green Army team, led by Skillset in partnership with Campbell Page and Bathurst Regional Council (Project Host) helped to protect, restore and connect Bathurst Woodlands.  The project was held on 17 sites to target native vegetation restoration. The Green Army Team assisted with site assessments, targeted weed control, fence removal, seed collection, planting of local native vegetation, walking track maintenance and erosion control.

Over the five projects, Skillset hosted 42 local young participants, of whom many are now gainfully employed. The project also reaped great environmental outcomes including nearly 8,000 planted trees and shrubs, 103ha of weed treatment and the removal of nearly 8 tonnes of debris.  In addition, the team gained skills in fencing, track construction, gully restoration, erosion control, seed collection and propagation, field days and events, monitoring and evaluation, and more.

The Green Army is a hands-on, practical environmental action program that supports local environmental and heritage conservation projects across Australia. It is an initiative for young Australians aged 17–24 years who are interested in protecting their local environment.

Skillset and Campbell Page partnered to become one of five Service Providers delivering the Green Army Programme for the Australian Government. Together with our training partner TAFE Western we manage projects across New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.