Madison and Jakob named top apprentices in the Riverland

Mar 04, 2021

Students receiving Award

TAFE SA graduates Madison Lailey and Jakob Johinke-Milich have been jointly named Apprentice of the Year at the Riverland and Mallee Vocational Awards.

The Vocational Awards are an annual event hosted by the Rotary Club of Berri.

Madison and Jakob received the industry awards for their respective fields – cookery and engineering – and shared the top award.

Madison, a chef at The Barmera Hotel Motel, says cooking has long been an interest and he feels fortunate to have been able to turn it into a career.

“I enjoy the responsibility and satisfaction you get from presenting food everyone enjoys, as well as coming up with new special ideas and seeing people's reactions to my creations,” he says.

“So far the most challenging aspect would have to be stepping up into a higher role and taking on more responsibility running the kitchen, but this has also taught me a lot of useful life skills.”

Madison studied the Certificate III in Commercial Cookery and says he received great support from his lecturers during his training.

“My lecturers Gary Webb and Alistair Ferguson have stuck by and supported me the whole way through, giving me advice and always being there for a chat when times were tough,” he says.

Jakob, a fitter and turner who works in maintenance at TWG Loxton, says he always wanted to have a trade and had his eye on an apprenticeship with the company for several years.

“I was working in the cellar at the winery and I nagged them for an apprenticeship for three years,” he says.

“They’re a really nice company to work for and I’ve made some good friends.”

Jakob, who studied engineering through TAFE SA, says his days are varied and tasks can range from welding or small repairs through to pulling down and rebuilding machinery.

He appreciates the life experience he’s gained during the apprenticeship and says the knowledge he’s built up can be applied to other areas of his life, including working on his new home.

“I’ve always been interested in fixing things and now I have a lot of knowledge I can use,” he says.

TAFE SA was represented in every category of this year’s Riverland and Mallee Vocational Awards, with 17 students among the finalists. The winners included:

Apprentice of the Year (Joint Winners)

Jakob Johinke-Milich (Engineering)

Madison Lailey (Cookery)

Trainee of the Year

Bianca Shephard (Childcare)

Trainee of the Year Runner-up

Breeann Duncan (Business)

Industry Award – Automotive

Necip Durmus

Industry Award – Cookery

Madison Lailey

Industry Award – Electrical/Air Conditioning

Craig Turner

Industry Award – Engineering

Jakob Johinke-Milich

Australian School Based Trainee of the Year

Emily Taylor (Beauty Services)

Australian School Based Trainee of the Year Runner-up

Stavroula Milonas (Business)

Australian School Based Apprentice of the Year Runner-up

Sarah Kassebaum (Hairdressing)

PICTURED: Aidan Kenyon, last year’s Apprentice of the Year, presents the award to Madison Lailey (right) and Nikki Bates, who attended on behalf of her son, Jakob Johinke-Milich