Vinnie’s amazing journey to win Youth Connect Award

Vinnie’s amazing journey to win Youth Connect Award

Viniththa Vasanthakumar (Vinnie) was the recipient of the 2018 Skillset Workforce Youth Connect award for her amazing achievements and determination to develop a career within the childcare industry. Vinnie has had an amazing journey and we can’t wait to see where she goes next!

Vinnie came to Australia with her father 7 years ago, at age 12, from Sri Lanka. As the rest of her family is back in Sri Lanka, Vinnie has had to rely on local community support.

Vinnie was introduced to Skillset Youth Connect by Bathurst High.  The school was concerned about her next steps now that she was transitioning from High school after completing her Higher School Certificate.

Youth Connect provided Vinnie with career planning advice and assistance to explore her post-school options.  Through this process, Vinnie identified her passion and goal was to work with children and she was assisted to enrol and commence in Certificate III in Children’s Services.  Skillset Youth Connect linked Vinnie with the Multicultural Service Officer to ensure she had specialist support and guidance through this process.

As Vinnie was living at Perthville, her next challenge was to get her motorbike license so that she could travel independently to TAFE and her work placements at a local childcare centre. Vinnie is now the proud owner of a scooter and one of her proudest moments has been conquering the dreaded roundabout on her way to TAFE.

Vinnie is now halfway through her Certificate III in Children’s Services and is a star student.  Her teacher, Marney Lynch has told Youth Connect she wishes all her students were like Vinnie.  “Vinnie is a very passionate student who always gives her best.  She is a keen participant in the classroom eager to give input in the discussion areas.  She is passionate in her study and has developed a great rapport in the classroom with fellow students and teachers.”

Vinnie has recently completed her first TAFE work placement at a local childcare centre.  The children loved Vinnie’s vibrant personality and enthusiasm and she enjoyed being with the children so much that she contacted the Child Care Centre after her placement to let them know she was available in the holidays and asked if she could volunteer her time.

Anyone who meets Vinnie falls in love with her zest for life and natural charisma. Skillset Youth Connect is proud to have worked alongside other community organisations and community members to assist Vinnie, who is always so grateful.

Vinnie has achieved so much this year which is a credit to her determination and beautiful attitude.  Youth Connect is very proud of Vinnie’s achievements and can’t wait to see where she goes next.

Congratulations Vinnie!

Skillset Workforce celebrates skills of apprentices, trainees and businesses

Skillset Workforce was proud to award some of the best apprentices, trainees, individuals and businesses at the Annual Skillset Awards held on Friday, August 31st, 2018.

Over 200 people gathered at the Flannery Centre in Bathurst. It was a great opportunity for our people and businesses to be recognised for their remarkable achievements.

Partnership Award – TAFE NSW Western 

Kate Baxter Regional Manager and Skillset Workforce Senior Manager Jane McWilliam

Skillset Workforce is proud to have jointly forged a strong working relationship with TAFE NSW to expand the range of innovative services and programs offered in Western NSW.

Through our valued partnership, Skillset Workforce has been able to access high-quality training services, obtain access to TAFE facilities and access the range of specialist TAFE NSW support services that help to bolster our range of programs as well as add value to the experience of our clients.

Host of the Year (SME) – Bridges Bathurst (Brown & Associates) 

Blayney Shire Council Mayor Cr Scott Ferguson, Edward Brown and Skillset Workforce Senior Manager Jane McWilliam

Bridges Bathurst (Brown & Associates) are a financial advisory service who have been servicing the Bathurst region for over 31 years. Skillset have been working with Bridges Bathurst for 19 years. They have hosted six trainees with all of them having long tenures and some are still working with Edward today. Edward believes that it is important to invest in young people and takes pride in knowing that he is helping set them on a successful path.

Host of the Year (Large) – Thales

Skillset Director Maree Statham, David Forbes and Skillset Workforce Senior Manager Jane McWilliam

Thales Group are well renowned for their innovative focus on community and staff development.

Over our 12 year partnership, Thales have hosted 39 apprentices and trainees, from fitter machinists to electricians to business trainees.

Their unique training program ensures apprentices and trainees are well supported and successful in the workplace as well as the adaptation of training to suit the industry requirements.

Host Excellence Award – D R & D V Cooper 

Skillset Senior Manager – Business Services Kim Ellis, David Cooper and Skillset Workforce Senior Manager Jane McWilliam

The Coopers run a successful bricklaying business in Orange and Dave has been working as a Bricklayer for over 40 years. They are wonderful advocates for bringing young people into their business to complete their apprenticeship and at the same time teaching them valuable life skills. Over the 20 years that we have worked with Dave, he has employed 11 apprentices which is amazing for a small business.

Jim Todman Safety Award – Spatial Services

Penny Todman, Rick McDonald, Dylan Todman, & Jane McWilliam

This Award recognises hosts who demonstrate high standards of safety. This award was named after the late Jim Todman, who was our Safety Officer in 2008 and 2009. Jim’s commitment to safety and ensuring the health and wellbeing of our apprentices and trainees lives on through this award.

Spatial Services have been running “Wellness@Spatial” for two years.  The wellness program focuses on the elements of fitness, nutrition, weight control, stress management, sleep and energy optimisation, and building a positive mindset to help their staff feel 100% effective every day, and are engaged and enthused with work life.

Skills4Trade Student of the Year (Multi-Industry Courses) – Harrison Pirie 

Karen Bond, Harrison Pirie and Jane McWilliam

Harry enrolled in the Skills4Trade program after his neighbour encouraged him to do some study.  Harry demonstrated his commitment to engineering by attending the PJL Information evening and observing all the networking and self-promotion strategies that were taught in class.

After interviews and a two-day work trial with PJL Harry was successful in winning a boiler making apprenticeship.  Harry is getting excellent reports for his performance as an apprentice at PJL.

Skills4Trade Student of the Year (GTO Courses) – Kayltin Middleton 

Kate Baxter, Kaytlin Middleton and Jane McWilliam

Kaytlin completed the first Skills4Trade Community Services course in July 2018. Attending all Skills4Trade TAFE Days – Kaytlin passed all TAFE competencies. She was also a strong candidate on her work tours after being the first student to approach and interact with clients.

Kaytlin feels the community services industry is what suits her, so has continued her studies and enrolled into Certificate III Individual Support – Disability.

Youth Connect Award – Viniththa Vasanthakumar 

Amanda Gregor, Viniththa Vasanthakumar and Jane McWilliam

Youth Connect provided Vinnie with career planning advice and assistance to explore her post-school options.  Through this process, Vinnie identified her passion and goal was to work with children and enrol in Certificate III in Children’s Services.

Vinnie is now halfway through her studies and is a star student. Vinnie has achieved so much this year which is a credit to her determination and beautiful attitude.  We can’t wait to see where she goes next

Apprentice and Trainee Awards

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Apprentice or Trainee of the Year Award

Tenille Gaffney, Hollie Kemp, Lucas Payne, Donald Dundas and Jane McWilliam

WINNER – Lucas Payne 

Lucas is in his final year of his apprenticeship at Moolarben Coal Operations and is completing a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician. In 2015, Lucas was awarded Skillset’s School-Based Apprentice of the Year. Lucas has an outstanding work ethic, and is always looking out for others.


Hollie Kemp – Hollie is completing her Certificate III in Early Childhood Education at Towri Macs Centre. She has shown great dedication to the role and has set a high importance on teaching children about indigenous culture and history.

Tenille Gaffney – Tenille has been working with Moolarben Coal Operations as a Trainee Surface Extraction Operator. She has embraced a huge change after 25 years in retail and embarking on a career change in mining. She has been excelling in her traineeship.

Emma McGuiness – Emma is completing a Certificate III Business Administration (Medical) at Doctor S Kamalaharan and Associates. Emma is a diligent worker with a great work ethic.

Apprentice or Trainee in Non-Traditional Trade Award 

Erin Hunter, Samantha Kennedy, Meghan Buchholz, Rebecca Balmer, Stephen Harper and Jane McWilliam

WINNER – Erin Hunter 

Erin has excelled in her Electrotechnology Electrician at MRG Electrical. She is training as an industrial electrician and her skills are beyond those of someone her age and experience. Erin placed third (and missing out on the Gold Medal by just 2 POINTS) at the 2018 National World Skills Competition.


Samantha Kennedy – Samantha is completing Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at Highland Heritage Estate. Samantha recently completed her major assessment, CHEF NIGHT at TAFE where she was head chef, designed her own menu much to the delight of people attending.

Meghan Buchholz – Meghan Is an Open Cut Surface Trainee at Moolarben Coal Operations. She has an outstanding work ethic and can adapt to any situation. Most recently, Meghan has acted in a higher duties relief role.

Rebecca Balmer – Rebecca is completing her Horticulture Apprentice at Dubbo Regional Council. Her TAFE Work is outstanding and is dedicated and resilient in the workplace. She has also completed her apprenticeship this week and has been offered a full-time job at Dubbo Regional Council.

Joyce Hawkes Trainee of the Year

Grant Arnold, Jacqui Breen, Hanna Peachman, Courtney Hogan, Andrew Gee and Jane McWilliam

This Award is named after the late Joyce Hawkes who was an original board member of Central West Group Apprentices and a driving force in its creation.

WINNER – Courtney Hogan 

Courtney completed her traineeship in Early Childhood Education at host employer Dubbo Regional Council Child Care Centre. She has developed a wealth of industry and at the conclusion of Courtney’s traineeship, she has been offered various job opportunities – a reflection of her passion and skill for working with children.


Hanna Peachman – Hanna completed her traineeship with Lithgow City Council. After previously completing a Cert III she quickly moved to completing Cert 4 In Business Services. Hanna has a strong customer service focus and is always performs at a high and professional standard.

Breanna Reimer – Breanna is completing a Certificate III in Community Services Work at Housing Plus Orange. Hanna handles any situation that is given to her professionally and we have received phenomenal feedback from her host employer.

Taylen Cornish – Taylen has taken a mature approach to his Drilling Operations traineeship at Moolarben Coal Operations. He has excellent TAFE results and has an outstanding work ethic.

Gordon Hawkes Apprentice of the Year 

The Gordon Hawkes Award is named after the late Gordon Hawkes, husband of Joyce who was also an original board member of Central West Group Apprentices and a driving force in its creation.

WINNER – Mathew Harvey 

Erin Hunter, Ben Hockey, Joseph Duffy, Brock Piper, Andrew Gee and Jane McWilliam

Mathew started his Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade apprenticeship at PJL Group as a mature-aged apprentice after coming from a role as a rigger at a construction company. Mathew has consistently excelled in his studies and he was awarded the 2018 Western NSW Training Awards Apprentice of the Year and is a leading hand at PJL.


Erin Hunter – We have already heard about Erin’s amazing achievements as an industrial electrician in the Non-Traditional Trade Award Category. Congratulations Erin for being nominated for your second award!

Joseph Duffy – Joseph has proved to be an outstanding apprentice, He completed a Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical Trade at host employer PJL Group. In 2017, Joe was awarded the Country Woman’s Associations’ Central West Annual Apprentice Award. Joe has a broad knowledge base of the engineering and mining industry and his drive to continue to progress his career is inspiring.

Brock Piper – Brock Piper is completing his apprenticeship in Electrotechnology – Electronics and Communications at Western NSW Health. He has excelled in his studies and he has achieved exceptional exam results.

Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists at the Skillset Workforce Awards! 

headspace Bathurst and Marathon Health Green Space Project

Land Works was proud to be involved in the design and construction of the headspace Bathurst and Marathon Health Garden which was completed in late June 2018. 

headspace Garden opening Bathurst NSW - Land Works - Skillset Environment

The development of the green space was a part of headspace Bathurst’s launch of its new central site and will help the community access a variety of health services. The new office location included a Greenspace that has been designed to provide users with a multi-functional garden for relaxation, meeting, and events, recreation, and entertainment. The Greenspace is surrounded by vertical gardens and art walls to create a comfortable atmosphere. Complete with a decking amphitheatre, synthetic lawn, BBQ area, and pergola, the solar passive design will allow the Greenspace to be enjoyed throughout all seasons.

The Land Works team are proud to have worked on the design and construction of the garden and design a space that will provide a number of benefits to visitors, staff, and volunteers.

The garden we have helped create is a place that will make people feel welcomed and make them feel comfortable.

We would like to thank the entire Land Works crew who have worked on this project and finally thank you to headspace, Marathon Health and Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation for letting Land Works be involved in this project.

Land Works offers a number of services for commercial and industrial landscaping projects including:

  • The design and construction of residential landscapes that are environmentally focussed, functional and customised to your requirements.
  • Design and construction services for urban landscapes including schools, councils, civil construction, roads, and large infrastructure.
  • Assisting with sustainable agriculture such as erosion control, weed management and improvement of ecological functions.
  • Regeneration and rehabilitation of natural environments such as large-scale tree planting, weed control, bush remediation, and environmental assessment, planning and management.

For more information please call Skillset Environment on 1300 853 525 or email

Skillset Senior College’s new Ag Recruits

Skillset Senior College’s Agriculture Program keeps going from strength to strength and we have welcomed new members to our animal family. 

Skillset Senior College has welcomed Gertie, the miniature pony mare. The students have been learning skills in grooming, farrier work, and horse care. It’s amazing how the opportunity to provide care for another living being can give such a sense of satisfaction.

Skillset Senior College has also welcomed 10 Dexter’s to our menagerie of beautiful animals. The Dexter’s will be a part of the agriculture program running at the school where the student will be breaking them in and learning handling skills. At Skillset Senior College we love all creatures great and small and look forward to this new opportunity to build some great new skills.

Skillset Senior College has become a registered Corriedale Sheep Stud and students have had the opportunity to visit displays that covers nearly every aspect of the Agriculture industry in Australia. The Agriculture program shows students the many career opportunities available to them.

The students have also experienced successes at regional Royal Shows including the Bathurst Royal Show earlier in 2018.

We look forward to seeing our Agriculture Program grow! 


Skillset Senior College recognises students and community partners at Skillset Awards

It was a great day at the Skillset Awards on Friday, August 31st, 2018 where we were able to recognise our amazing Skillset Senior College Leaders and partners who have made a significant impact to our school.

For the first time at the Skillset Awards, our SSC Senior Leaders were recognised in front of 200 guests at the Flannery Centre.

Skillset Senior College Senior Leaders

The Skillset Senior College Senior Leaders are soon to complete their HSC and their commitment is to be commended as it has been no easy feat to stay on track and continue coming to school. This achievement will hold them in good stead for the adventures that lie ahead, both personally and professionally. The Senior Leaders have shown amazing leadership and support to our junior students. Skillset wishes them all the very best for their future and hopes they continue their educational journey. Well done Year 12!

We were very fortunate to also have the Federal Member for Calare, the Hon. Andrew Gee present the students with their certificates.

Skillset Senior College also recognised an individual with whom Skillset Senior College has worked in partnership over the past 12 months to deliver benefits to our school.

The Skillset Education Partnership Award award recipient was Kevin Sheehan for Cows Create Careers Program

Skillset Education Manager Abbey Barrett, Kevin Sheehan and Skillset Director and Skillset Senior College Director Ian Tooke

We congratulate and commend Kevin, Liz and their family for their ongoing support and generosity toward Skillset Senior College. For the past two years, Kevin has donated dairy cows to our school agriculture program allowing Skillset Senior College to participate in the Cows Create Careers program.  Providing assistance to 5 schools within the Bathurst district, Kevin and his family have enabled this exciting program to continue in the region. In turn, introducing students to the dairy industry, teaching them skills in animal handling and the responsibility of managing and raising young dairy cows. We thank you Kevin for your enthusiastic support and generosity.

Congratulations to our Year 12 Students and to Kevin for his contribution to Skillset Senior College!