Bathurst local and Skillset Workforce Trainee Laycee Covington-Gorst has won the prestigious 2019 Trainee of the Year at the Western Training Awards Gala Night held at the Orange Ex-Services Club, last Friday.

Laycee, who completed her traineeship in December, was employed by Skillset Workforce and hosted by Devro Pty Ltd Bathurst for the 15 months of her traineeship in Certificate III in Information, Digital Media and Technology with TAFE NSW. Laycee embarked on the IT traineeship because of her genuine interest in the ever changing technology trends and the impact it has on the connection of the entire world.

After finishing her HSC, Laycee was undecided as to what career path to take but her family encouraged her to strive for success and follow her passion for technology in wherever that ended up. Laycee said, “I knew that if I pursued a career in IT, I would be skilled and secure in the future of digitalised workplaces.”

Devro HR Business Partner, Sally Russell said that Laycee has a fantastic can-do attitude and isn’t afraid to throw herself into a task. “Laycee is an inspiring young professional who has been commended for her enthusiasm, proactive attitude, professional demeanour and loyalty. Laycee is truly deserving of this prestigious award.”

Since completing her traineeship, Laycee now has a full time role as the technical resource for Devro’s IT Infrastructure in Australia and New Zealand. An amazing achievement for a newly qualified IT technician.

Laycee acknowledged the support of Skillset Workforce, Devro Pty Ltd and TAFE NSW in helping her both get a start in her career and to develop an advanced skills base for all forms of IT tasks. Laycee said, “I started a traineeship in a typically male dominated industry. I would like to thank Devro and Skillset Workforce for helping me to pursue my dream career and finding the courage to motivate other females to break the stereotypes and consider careers in the IT industry.”

Skillset CEO Craig Randazzo congratulated Laycee for this prestigious achievement. “This is a wonderful achievement for Laycee to be awarded Trainee of the Year. This award recognises her hard work and determination as a trainee. Laycee is a true ambassador for Vocational Education and Training and a great mentor for fellow trainees, especially young females, to look up to.”

Skillset Workforce had five other finalists at this year’s NSW Training Awards, including Erin Hunter (MRG Electrical Services – Bathurst) and Mark Woodhead (Western NSW Local Health District – Dubbo) for the Apprentice of the Year Award. Claire Bignell (Agriwest Rural – Parkes) as a finalist for the Trainee of the Year Award; Chenoa Endacott (TAFE NSW) won the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Award, whilst Hollie Kemp (Towri Macs Centre – Bathurst) was also a finalist in this category.

Laycee will now proceed to the next stage of the NSW Training Awards as for the 2019 Trainee of the Year Award to be held in Sydney this September.

Bathurst City Life | June 20 2019

Western Advocate | June 19 2019













Chelsea’s found her calling and you can to!

Chelsea’s found her calling and you can to!

Skillset Youth Connect is performing at an all time high following the success of Skillset’s SkillForce360 jobs and skills growth campaign.  In their third quarter results, Youth Connect have exceeded their annual registration target by 16% and already achieved 6% over their annual target for placements! This showcases the number of young people’s lives our team have truly impacted.

Youth Connect consultants provide advice and support through helping clients to realise their personal strengths and unique skills, and further help them to access local training to build upon these skills to then be able to access employment opportunities.


SkillForce360 Case Study: 

When Chelsea came to Skillset Youth Connect, she was at a cross road in terms of training and job hunting.  She had left school quite early due bullying and the associated impact on her mental health.  Time has since passed and at 18 she realises the importance of education and learning new skills.

Chelsea met with her Youth Connect consultant, Alana and they discussed her interests in helping people and making a difference. She expressed an interest in working with people with disability as well as older people in aged care.  She had also been thinking about working in the beauty industry.

Chelsea was looking for career planning advice to explore potential pathways and training options. She also needed assistance with her resume so she could job search.  Chelsea initially decided she would like to enrol in a Certificate III Individual Support, but unfortunately, she needed to focus on her health and was unable to join the course at that time.

After a few months, Chelsea felt well enough to begin job searching and soon secured casual work in retail.  She continued to explore training options with Youth Connect and was eventually assisted to enrol in Certificate III Beauty Services.  She is now powering through her course and plans are in place for her to continue into a Diploma and Nail Technology course.

It’s stories like this that really make us love what we do – helping others to realise their potential and strive for their goals.

If you’re aged between 15-19 and not in school, training or work, Youth Connect offer free advice, support and training to help you take the next step towards your future.

Talk to a Youth Connect Consultant on 1300 853 525.

Good News for Regional Unemployment Rates as Jobs Campaign Reaches Target

Good News for Regional Unemployment Rates as Jobs Campaign Reaches Target

Kym Hilliard from Skillset Workforce, Skillset general manager Jane McWilliam, Skillset CEO Craig Randazzo, Heath Wright and Cameron Gallop with Hort Enterprises managing director Craig Hort.


Skillset’s 2018/19 jobs and skills campaign “SkillForce360” has reached its target by placing 428 people into apprenticeships, employment or training across central and western NSW.

Following on from the successful 2016 and 2017 “Pledge250” jobs campaign, Skillset raised the bar to 360 with this year’s campaign focusing on skills as well as jobs.

The campaign has hit its target early, as news from the Department of Jobs and Small Business reports positive changes to unemployment rates in Central West and Far West Orana. Since January 2016, the unemployment rate has dropped from 7.2 per cent to 5.5 per cent in the Central West. The Far West Orana regions are experiencing even lower rates of total unemployment. Since January 2017, the unemployment rate has decreased from 5.5 per cent to 2.9 per cent.

The national unemployment rate currently sits at 4.9 per cent and despite this encouraging statistic, youth unemployment remains high at 11.5 per cent nationally.  However, Central West and Far West Orana have some of the lowest youth unemployment rates in regional NSW with current rates at 8.7 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively.

In the 15 campaign months since November 2016, Skillset has seen 754 local people transition into apprenticeships or other jobs. Throughout the 2018/19 campaign 187 people have pursued training through our Youth Connect, Skills4Trade and Upskilled Mentoring Program. Leading industry placements were Mining, Construction, Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries making up 58 per cent of all industry placements.

Skillset CEO Craig Randazzo said it is encouraging to see the low unemployment rates across the Central West and Far West Orana regions. “While there are many contributing factors, we are proud to be playing our part by creating initiatives like SkillForce360 which contribute to the economic well-being of our regional communities. The Honorable Tanya Plibersek MP and Shadow Minister for Education and Training cited in her speech to the Universities Australia Conference that regional and remote Australians consistently have a much lower education attainment rate than urban Australia therefore it’s important to providing skills development and employment opportunities to increase social and educational mobility and economic growth.”

Skillset continues to focus on the importance of providing skills and employment for young people. Mr Randazzo said, “Whilst the SkillForce360 campaign ended on March 31, our vision doesn’t end there. We encourage local businesses to partner with us to provide opportunities for the youth of our region to ‘future-proof’ their business by ensuring they grow the skills base they need for the workforce of the future.”

4 valuable lessons learnt after school

4 valuable lessons learnt after school

With the retirement age expected to rise to 67 by 2026-28, young people will soon work for 50 years or more. So it’s important to find what you love doing and make it into something that you’ll be happy spending half a century working on.

It’s an overwhelming thought.

Have you ever thought that perhaps expecting a 17-year-old to choose the profession they want to commit to and the courses that will get them there, is perhaps too much for young, inexperienced school leavers?

Whether you leave in Year 11 or 12, you’re about to enter the world outside school and start making moves towards your dream career. A lot of students find themselves overwhelmed with the burden of choice, because there are just so many options unexpectedly available.

Late last year at a local all-girls high school careers day, our Skillset representatives, Laura Cole and Jill Notzon attended as guest speakers, discussing post-school pathways and alternative career options with the girls.

The greatest takeaway from the event was that young people like to know that what they’re doing has a purpose and outcome. Working towards something of interest gives them a sense of direction and commitment.

Skillset Workforce Recruitment Manager, Jill Notzon, told students,
“it’s important to stay calm and think clearly about what your career goals are and how you’re going to achieve these. There are so many different pathways you can follow to achieve what you want, so ensure you research the industry and reach out to those who are already working in the field.”  

When asked what she would’ve done differently, Skillset Marketing Coordinator, Laura Cole said,
“I would’ve focussed more on balance. There’s so much pressure placed on obtaining top grades, but you’re also expected to gain life experience, and work to earn money, but you’re also required to be happy and enjoy life. There’s so much pressure. Take time for yourself. Enjoy being young. Study hard, but reward yourself and ensure you’re surrounding yourself with positive people.”

4 top tips for school leavers:

  • Research career pathways – have an understanding of what your options are. Don’t feel confined to the university pathway if this doesn’t align with your goals.
  • Get into a routine – to prepare yourself for professional life, be sure to get out of bed at a reasonable time and fill your days with productivity, be that in the form of obtaining qualifications or searching for work. Don’t let those extended breaks set you in a bad pattern which you will struggle to get out of.
  • Develop your network – the power of networking is often overlooked.  Establishing a professional network will put you in good stead for the future. Surrounding yourself with people who are supportive and encouraging will also ensure you have good advice and motivators wherever you go.
  • Gain experience – get involved in the industry you’re interested in! Whether this be volunteering or requesting an internship type position at an organisation you aspire to work for. This experience will improve your employability and help you in developing the hard and soft skills needed for your professional journey.

Could you use a hand in preparing your resume or finding your dream job? Contact the Skillset Workforce Team to see how they can help you!



Skillset Senior College Bathurst campus officially opened their much anticipated multi-purpose sports court this week to enhance the development of the college’s PDHPE program, with the intention of bringing greater opportunities for active participation amongst the school community.

Skillset Senior College Principal and Skillset CEO Craig Randazzo says the project was independently funded by Skillset Senior College and is another addition to the college’s expanding sports program.

Mr Randazzo says, “this fully, self-funded project will allow for the staff and students to compete in various sports which will elevate the quality of education and encourage participation for students. The school continues to enhance the college sports program in particular every second week the school comes together for a barbeque and sports afternoon. It’s wonderful to see our entire school community come together and the enjoyment it brings to the students and staff.”

Skillset Senior College operate within a student-centred model, focusing on the individual needs of its students. The PDHPE program at Skillset Senior College is to assist students with an understanding of holistic health to improve physical and mental wellbeing.

Skillset Senior College PDHPE teacher, Jono Hosking, says, “the multi-purpose sports court will enhance the students’ application and participation in a range of sports including tennis, basketball, netball and handball. This program is critical in fostering students wellbeing, improving communication and team working skills as well as improving overall fitness and physical health.”

The construction of the multi-court reinforces the college’s vision to offer first class facilities to all students. There have been a number of additions at the Bathurst campus including the federally funded Association of Independent Schools Block Grant Authority covered outdoor learning area, a small farm, access to a student kitchen as well as significant classroom improvements to provide a well-resourced physical learning environment within which students can grow personally and thrive educationally.