Noosa Heads resident Jai McConnell was awarded the School-based Apprentice of the Year award at the second annual TAFE Queensland – SkillsTech Apprentice Awards Evening. 

Held at Cloudland in Brisbane’s CBD, the night celebrated apprentices who have shown exceptional achievement within their trade area with a total of 14 category winners recognised on the night.

Jai said he was honoured to be recognised and wanted to thank his employer, Helitak — a Rotary Aerial Fire Fighting specialist located on the Sunshine Coast — as well his school, St Teresa’s Catholic College.

“Being awarded means a lot to me and makes me want to push myself further in my career," said Jai.

"My dad’s a plumber and he influenced me to try a trade because everything worked out so well for him and our family.

"The best part of training with TAFE Queensland – SkillsTech is being able to start a qualification at school. This has given me more experience in the workplace which I hope will help me go further in my career."

Jai was nominated by his manager, Paul Blundell from Helitak, for his trade skills and natural ability as a leader.

“Jai has grown into a great company asset and quickly understood how Helitak strives to keep pace and compete on the world export stage,” said Paul.

Sponsoring the award was TradeTools who generously contributed to Jai’s $250 prize voucher as well as donating tools for the charity raffle

TAFE Queensland – SkillsTech General Manager, John Tucker said that since the launch of the Apprentice Awards in 2018, the event has already doubled in size.

“It's important for industry and employers to have a platform to build relationships with apprentices and this is what our event continues to achieve," said John.

“Jai is just one of our award winners and nominees who will go on to become future leaders in their industries, helping to build a stronger and more skilled workforce."

This year’s nominees were selected from over 9,000 apprentices across carpentry, plumbing, electrotechnology, refrigeration and air conditioning, manufacturing and engineering, heavy commercial industries, light automotive, construction and furnishing trade areas.

Information for apprentices  School-based apprenticeships guide

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