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Jason takes top award for overcoming adversity

Twenty-two-year-old glass and glazing apprentice, Jason Pates from Queensland Glass has been awarded the General Manager’s Apprentice of the Year at the third annual TAFE Queensland – SkillsTech Apprentice Awards.

Twenty-two-year-old glass and glazing apprentice, Jason Pates from Queensland Glass has been awarded the General Manager’s Apprentice of the Year at the third annual TAFE Queensland – SkillsTech Apprentice Awards.

The General Manager’s Apprentice of the Year award was sponsored by East Coast Apprenticeships and recognises an apprentice who has achieved excellence in the face of adversity. Jason who lives in Boonah in Brisbane’s Scenic Rim Region said he was honoured to receive the award and wanted to thank his employer Queensland Glass and his TAFE Queensland teachers for their support.

“It makes me feel really excited and I can’t wait to go to work tomorrow and tell all the boys that I won an award,” said Jason.

“Working for Queensland Glass is awesome and I’m learning so much. It’s been incredible — I get up every morning and drive an hour to work but it’s worth it. I always go to work with a smile on my face,” he said.

Jason was nominated by his TAFE Queensland teacher, Bill Thomlinson who said that when he first met Jason, he was someone who stood out from the crowd.

“There is a unique quality about Jason with his honesty and his ability to communicate. It became apparent very early that he was standing head and heels over his counterparts,” said Mr Tomlinson.

“Jason’s had a number of challenges throughout his life and apprenticeship. When he first started his trade training, he advised us that he has a hearing impairment. He had some initial concerns about how this may affect his training, but we reassured Jason that we’d all support him through any difficulties he experienced.”

“It’s proven not to be an issue at all and Jason has really just excelled through his training. He’s even acted as a mentor to some of the other apprentices in his class,” he said.

After Jason parted ways with a previous employer who was unable to provide a supportive work environment, his teachers rallied together to help Jason continue his apprenticeship. The teachers were able to connect Jason with out-of-trade funding, enabling him to continue his training while he searched for new employment.

“When I left my other job, I went to my teacher, Bill Thomlinson straight away because he’s always supported me and I knew that I could trust him,” said Jason.

The glass and glazing teachers were able to use their existing relationships with industry to set Jason up with a number of interviews, the most promising interview proved to be with Queensland Glass.

Jason was offered an apprenticeship with Queensland Glass and has been excelling in his new role. His new employer also offers a range of opportunities for apprentices to move around in the company.

Queensland Glass Operations Manager, Brendan Poole said once apprentices have completed their trade qualifications, cadetship opportunities are also available for apprentices to move into design and drafting, procurement, project administration, and project management.

“Two of our project managers here were actually apprentices with us. The pathway is their own, and if they want to take that leap, we’ll encourage it,” said Mr Poole.

“Jason has become a great asset to the business. The feedback I get from our tradesmen is always 'where did you find him and how can we duplicate him?'”

“Jason is an exceptional kid on all levels, we are very proud to have him here as a member of our staff,” he said.

TAFE Queensland – SkillsTech General Manager, John Tucker said that Jason is a very deserving candidate for the General Manager’s Apprentice of the Year Award.

“Jason has experienced a number of challenges throughout his apprenticeship but has demonstrated resilience and determination to achieve his goals,” said Mr Tucker.

“Our glass and glazing teachers here at TAFE Queensland are incredibly impressed with his passion for his trade, his skill level, and also his humility as a person,” he said.

As part of Jason’s award, he received a $300 gift card from Trade Tools, a Nat’s What I Reckon hoodie, and merchandise from FXD Work Wear.