TAFE SA students had a successful night at the Riverland and Mallee Vocational Awards, taking out eight key awards including Apprentice of the Year and Trainee of the Year.
The awards – for the 2019 school year - were announced at an event hosted by the Berri Rotary Club and attended by TAFE SA’s Executive Director – Educational Operations, Dr Norman Baker, on Friday, 7 February.
Among the winners was Jessica Matulick who was named Trainee of the Year.
Jessica has spent the past 12 months on a traineeship, working at Tim Whetstone’s Chaffey Electorate Office, in Berri, and studying a Certificate III in Business at TAFE SA’s Berri Campus.
The high achiever says she was excited to receive the award.
“It’s nice to be acknowledged for the work I’ve done over the past year,” she says.
TAFE SA Business lecturer Cunneen Clohesy says Jessica’s drive and determination will help her succeed in whatever career path she chooses.
“Jessica was a hard-working student and excelled, completing quality work and very large workloads in a short space of time,” she says.
Jessica applied for the traineeship after completing Year 12 at Renmark High School.
Deciding she wasn’t ready to move to Adelaide to start university she planned a gap year and says the one-year training program was an ideal fit.
“I really enjoyed having something to do where I could learn new skills and develop my problem solving and organisational skills, things which can be applied to life in general,” she says.
Jessica says she appreciated the relevance of the TAFE SA training to her role at the electorate office.
“There were things I took from my TAFE SA course and applied to the job straightaway like mail merges because I was doing a lot of letter writing,” she says.
“And there were also things I learnt in the office which I could apply back to my studies.”
The Vocational Education & Training Student of the Year went to Jack Monaco, a Glossop High School student who studied a Certificate III in Hospitality with TAFE SA.
Hospitality lecturer Wendy Martin says Jack is an extremely hardworking individual who successfully juggled TAFE SA studies, schoolwork and a part-time job throughout 2019.
“Right from the beginning Jack had an incredible thirst for knowledge with anything to do with hospitality,” she says.
“His approach to each class was impressive, finishing his theory work then helping students with their practicals if they were struggling.”
Jack, who is completing Year 12 this year, is passionate about the hospitality. He’s been involved in the industry since he was 13 years old, and wanted to enhance his experience with a formal qualification.
One of his favourite parts of the Certificate III in Hospitality was working in TAFE SA’s training restaurant, Leon’s Restaurant.
“I enjoyed working in a professional dining dynamic as I have only been exposed to cafe or non-table service environments,” he says.
“It was great to be able to meet more people with the same interest as me. I also liked having a mentor, Wendy Martin, as I could go to her for any advice on what I could do better or any general questions.
“It also opens so many opportunities - I was offered three jobs because of the dining practical. If you show your passion, it’s a great course to be a part of.”
2019 Riverland and Mallee Vocational Awards – TAFE SA winners:
Apprentice of the Year
Aidan Kenyon, TAFE SA Regency
Trainee of the Year
Jessica Matulick, TAFE SA Berri
Industry Award – Electrical/Air Conditioning
Craig Turner, TAFE SA Tonsley
Industry Award – Data & Voice Communications
Aidan Kenyon, TAFE SA Regency
Industry Award – Engineering
Ty Wagenknecht, TAFE SA Berri
Australian School-Based Trainee of the Year
Emily Westley, TAFE SA Berri
Australian School-Based Apprentice of the Year – Runner-up
Sam Koop, TAFE SA Berri
Vocational Education & Training Student of the Year
Jack Monaco, TAFE SA Berri
Top: Aidan Kenyon (Apprentice of the Year) & Jessica Matulick (Trainee of the Year)
Centre: Dr Norman Baker & Jack Monaco – VET Student of the Year