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 skillset.com.au/job-vacancies for details.