National win for Donald and Skillset

National win for Donald and Skillset

Donald Dundas, a recently completed Skillset Workforce apprentice, won the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year at last Thursday’s 2017 Australian Training Awards in Canberra.

The Australian Governments annual event recognises the best of the best in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) industry – from apprentices and students to teachers and employers. In front of an audience of over 750 people Donald was the only New South Wales finalist to take out one of the national awards.

Donald completed a Plumbing Apprenticeship with local organisation Skillset, and was hosted by Warrumbungle Shire Council. He excelled at all aspects of his apprenticeship, and his enthusiasm, leadership and skills earned him the respect of his peers, trainers and managers.

Donald found his passion for plumbing while working as a labourer on an aboriginal housing project.

Whether it is mentoring, communicating with his local community or organising effective workflow for his employers at Warrumbungle Shire Council, Donald’s Australian Apprenticeship has also taught him to lead by example and encourage others to take up a trade. Donald prides himself on the positive relationship he has established with his community through his on the job training.

Donald said he couldn’t believe he had won the Award and that he was a “proud Aboriginal man driven to be a leader, not only of his people, but to encourage all to have a go and better themselves.”

Skillset CEO Craig Randazzo, who attended the Awards, said that Donald had done himself, his employers and regional New South Wales proud. “Donald is such a committed and humble man, such a positive role model for so many young people out there who are just starting out. It is an honour to have been a part of his journey. He really shows how far you can go with a VET career”.

Skillset Workforce is currently recruiting for apprentices and trainees across the Western and Central Western regions, including positions in Bathurst, Orange, Dubbo, Gilgandra, Mudgee, West Wyalong, Parkes and Cobar. Go to for details.

Helping L Platers this Christmas

Helping L Platers this Christmas

“Having a license is a great help in getting, and getting to, a job” says Skillset Skills and Engagement Manager Sharon Bradley “so it’s important to start building those log book hours and skills required to get P Plates. Also with Christmas approaching is the time to make sure your L Plater has the driving skills they need to be safe on the roads over this period.”

The Christmas period is one of the most high risk times on Australian Roads, with increased traffic volumes, increased traffic volumes, congestion, tiredness, people driving in unfamiliar environments, and a higher number of people who are driving under the influence of alcohol.

The Skillset Safer Drivers Course, comprises two modules:
• Module 1 – a three hour facilitated group discussion to build awareness of risks, safe driving behaviours and decisions.
• Module 2 – a two-hour in-vehicle coaching session. You are partnered with another student and you will each spend one hour behind the wheel.

Learner Drivers must have 50 hours driving experience (i.e actual on road hours, not including 3 for 1 credits) as evidenced in their log book to be eligible for the course, 10 of these hours must be night driving hours. The course costs $140 and is worth 20 log book hours on successful completion. The course may be available at no cost under the Disadvantaged Learner Initiative if the participant holds a current Pensioner Concession Card issued by the Department of Human Services – Centrelink.

The December Skillset Safer Driver Courses are on in Dubbo, Mudgee and Orange on Saturday 9th, Cowra on Saturday 16th and Bathurst on Monday 18th. Bookings can be made online at or by calling 0418 225 234

Skillset recognised with BEST Outstanding Business Partner Award

Skillset recognised with BEST Outstanding Business Partner Award


Skillset CEO Craig Randazzo said it has been and continues to be a strong partnership between two like-minded organisations who focus on making a positive impact on the programs and services they deliver.

Nirmal Hansra Chair of Campbell Page presents the Outstanding Business Partner Award to Ashley Bland and Craig Randazzo last night at the 2017 BEST awards ceremony in Katoomba.

The Green Army program has been an amazing project to work on, together we have commenced a total of 1380 with around 30% of these young people identifying as Aboriginal Australians.

Together Skillset and Campbell Page have planted a total of 393,044 trees across NSW, the ACT and Queensland, revegetated over 5,385HA of degraded land and carried out weed treatment across 12,178 HA.

The social and economic outcomes have also been so important with Skillset’s Central West programs achieving over 80% employment outcomes for participants.

Although the Australian Government has stopped funding the program, Skillset and Campbell Page are looking at ways the two organisations can continue to achieve the great environmental and employment outcomes, with Skillset starting a new self-funded service called Skillset Land Works.

Land Works aims to involve young local people in on–ground environmental projects in a team environment, with a focus on skills development, and provides a professionally supervised work crew, and is already achieving some great outcomes, with several local projects across the Central West.

For more information on the Land Works program contact Thomas Staff on 1300 853 525


Mudgee Partnership Delivers Life Changing Results

Mudgee Partnership Delivers Life Changing Results

An exciting program developed by local organisations Skillset Workforce, Moolarben Coal and Lifeskills Plus that assists locals transitioning into the workplace is delivering life changing results for three Mudgee men (Chris Rushworth, Russell Moriarty and Ross Turner).

Skillset Workforce and Moolarben Coal approached Lifeskills Plus late last year to see if any of their clients would be interested in the opportunity to work at Moolarben Coal. Chris, Russell and Ross were all keen to give it a go, and with the support of all the organisations, they went through the interview and testing process and were successful in being offered placements.
“It is incredibly rewarding to see the progress Chris, Russell and Ross are making. Moolarben Coal and all the staff onsite have been really supportive, assisting all three in working towards gaining independence in the workplace,” says Skillset Workforce’s Annette Rhodes.

The men are currently working alongside staff in the Maintenance and Stores Departments, assisting in the maintenance of the fleet and preparation of Personal Protective Equipment.
It has proven to be a rewarding experience for Chris, Russell and Ross and they are now working with Skillset Workforce and Lifeskills Plus on the next stage of their development.
“Chris, Russell and Ross are paving the way for people with disabilities in a demanding industry and the results show just what can be achieved through teamwork and commitment.
“Everyone involved is proud to be associated with these young men and they have taught everybody a great deal during this program. None of this could have been achieved without the involvement of Moolarben Coal and it is great to see the support they give to the community,” added Skillset Workforce’s Annette Rhodes


Skillset Wins Employer Support Award at Bathurst Business Awards

Skillset Wins Employer Support Award at Bathurst Business Awards

Skillset is honoured to have received the inaugural Defence Reserves Support Employer Support Award at the 2017 Peak Connect Carillon Business Awards in Bathurst on Saturday night. It is wonderful recognition for the culture of the organisation and the support provided to staff, in this instance our Defence Reserve staff.

Skillset first became a Reserve employer in 2016 when the organisation engaged a new member of the Senior College teaching staff with the full knowledge that this employee was also a serving Army Reserve Commissioned Officer with the local 1st/19th Infantry Battalion.

Immediately upon engagement at Skillset, the employee was released on a 6 month full time military service contract to attend to duties at Rifle Company Butterworth, Malaysia, with nearly 120 other reserve soldiers, including 15 from the Central West.

During this period Skillset Education Manager, Abbey Barrett, alongside the Bathurst Business Chamber Chair Stacey Whittaker, took up the Army invitation to brave military life for a week and visit troops in Malaysia on Operation Boss Lift.

On return to Skillset, their Reserve employee maintained a regular parading routine in the lead up to battalions preparation for its rotation to be ready to provide a heightened degree of response to the nation’s security in 2018. This includes Tuesday nights, weekends and extended exercises. Skillset Managers have extended every support to ensure the employee is granted leave, provided recovery time if necessary and can cut away early from work to attend military training, often at very short notice.

Beyond this, it’s the spirit and overall willingness of the Skillset team to let military planning and habits become a part of the operating procedures and environment within the work place. The team takes a genuine interest in the military activities and also provides wide spread support to cover the employee when he is away with the Army to manage the impact on the work place.

As a hub for young people, Skillset is also mindful of the opportunities that military service can provide vulnerable people who need a break. With this in mind military recruiters have been embraced at the school and a number of students have been targeted and mentored through the recruiting process with the aim of joining the local Battalion and beyond.

We believe Skillset is an excellent example of an employer who supports the Army Reserve, not because we have to, but because we want to.

Skillset Stars Shine at Glittering 35th Awards Gala

Skillset Stars Shine at Glittering 35th Awards Gala

Skillset Limited celebrated a huge milestone at the iconic Flannery Centre in Bathurst on Thursday evening by holding its ’35 Years Strong” Gala Awards dinner.

This year, Skillset celebrated its 35th year of operations which has seen thousands of young lives in our regions changed and supported through pivotal moments in their careers as they embark on apprenticeships, traineeships or just taking those first steps in their career. Skillset are proud to have supported over 6,000 apprentices and trainees to completion across central west and western NSW.

This milestone was celebrated in conjunction with our annual awards ceremony which celebrates the outstanding young talent in all facets of our business. From apprentices and trainees of our Workforce business unit, to prominent young achievers in the Green Army program of our Environment Unit, and outstanding community volunteer support for our Education unit, just to name a few.

Skillset was established in 1982 by Bathurst, Orange, Blayney, Parkes, Lithgow and Dubbo Councils and Chambers of Commerce, to help regional businesses by supplying them with apprentices. Central West Group Apprentices, as it was then known, employed one staff member and just 22 apprentices in the first year of operation.

Since then Skillset has developed three major business units to answer the calling to service more than just apprentices, but to educate and empower our local communities and even to support disengaged youth to transition back to school, training or the workforce. Skillset has achieved this over the years by introducing our diverse business units and programs to achieve this goal: Skillset Senior College, Skillset Workforce Recruitment, Skills and Engagement and Skillset Environment Land Works. Skillset are currently providing jobs and skills to over 400 employees.

Skillset Chair David Cooke said it was an important milestone for the organisation and a great opportunity to recognise so many who have contributed. “This is just a such a fitting grand finale for our 35 Years Strong anniversary year. To be celebrating the individuals, businesses and organisations who have made outstanding achievements or contributions is very special. It is a privilege to be in a position to have such a positive impact on both people’s lives and the organisations we work with, and we look forward to continuing our important work for another 35 years.”

The top Apprentice and Trainee of the Year Awards were taken out by Graphic Pre-Press apprentice Laura Burgett, hosted by Spatial Services Bathurst, Community Services trainee Maddison Griffiths-Leonard, hosted by Centacare Orange, and Plumbing apprentice Donald Dundas, hosted by Warrumbungle Shire Council.

Storco Storage Systems and PJL Group, both from Orange took out Skillset Workforce Host Awards, with Moolarben Coal winning the Skillset Workforce Jim Todman Safety Award, and Interact Injury Management the Skillset Workforce Partnership Award.

Skillset Environment recognised outstanding individuals and organisations from their Green Army program over the last 12 months, with Eurobodalla Team Supervisor Damon Lane and Participant Billy-Ray Davis-Wilson, the Kalyarr Team, participant Thomas Kennedy, Holbrook Landcare Network and Central West Lachlan Landcare all receiving awards.

Skillset Education Awards went to Youth Connect participant Sam Hampton, Skillset Senior College volunteer Helen McGoldrick and Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre in recognition of the support they have provided to Skillset Senior College students.

Skillset Workforce Operations and Return to Work Manager Anthea Koehn received the Skillset Service Award.

Skillset CEO Craig Randazzo paid tribute to the staff, and credited them and the innovative range of services for the organisation’s longevity and success “Just tonight we have launched the Skillset Workforce 2017 Pledge250 Jobs Campaign, and the Skillset Environment Land Works Service, as well as celebrating our first year of Year 12 students at Skillset Senior College, and Skills4Trade and Youth Connect Programs. You can’t do this without staff who are willing to embrace innovation, and are committed to delivering excellence in everything they do. We are very much the sum of our parts and I thank each and every one of them for their passion and hard work.”