Eighteen-year-old carpentry apprentice Charlie Hedges was awarded the 2019 School-Based Apprentice of the Year at the TAFE Queensland Apprentice Awards on the Gold Coast.

Attracting over 700 attendees, the event is the largest apprentice celebration on the Gold Coast.

The Australian Industry Trade College (AITC) student said he was honored to be recognised and thanked his employer Mint Construct, his school, and his TAFE Queensland teachers.

Charlie, who is completing a  Certificate III in Carpentry (CPC30211), was nominated by his TAFE teacher Matt Zaranski for his focus, dedication and listening skills.

“Charlie shows maturity beyond his years which has been evident form his speedy progression through his TAFE work,” said Matt.

“His employer Mint Construct, in collaboration with his school AITC, have been a real asset in Charlie's development, as the practical work I have observed from him closely resembles that of a trade standard.”

Matt said Charlie leads from the front in his group practical exercises and the TAFE Queensland carpentry team look forward to continuing to work with him as he transitions to a fulltime apprentice in 2020.

Milwaukee sponsored the award and contributed to Charlie’s prize — a tool pack valued at over $400.

Held at Mantra at Sharks in Southport, the awards night celebrated apprentices who have shown exceptional achievement within their trade area with a total of 49 category winners recognised on the night.

This year's winners were selected from more than 200 finalists across automotive, bricklaying, cabinetmaking, construction, cookery, electrotechnology, engineering, finishing trades, hairdressing and barbering, horticulture and landscape, marine craft, marine mechanics, plumbing, air-conditioning and refrigeration.

TAFE Queensland General Manager on the Gold Coast Karen Dickinson says the event, now in its eight year, is a great way to celebrate the achievements of outstanding trade students.

"Our Apprentice Awards night is not only an important event to recognise the education efforts of apprentices but also for industry and employers to have a platform to build relationships with apprentices," said Karen.

"Charlie is just one of our deserving award winners and nominees. My congratulations go out to each and every finalist and their teachers who have worked to achieve great outcomes for their students.”

Ms Dickinson said she was grateful that the Apprentice Awards received strong support from local industry.

“Gold Coast businesses really dug deep and have kindly donated wonderful prizes which will be going home with our deserving winners,” said Ms Dickinson.

The Apprentice Awards could not have been possible without the generous sponsorship from the following businesses: Milwaukee, Australian Industry Trade College, Australian Brick and Block Training Foundation (ABBTF), Burson, Construction and Building Unions Superannuation (CBUS), Coolphase, MEGT, MRAEL, Reece, Tradezone, BUSY At Work, Klien Tools Australia, Kirby and Totally Workwear (TWW).

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