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Local TAFE students top of the pops

Three Macarthur region TAFE NSW students have taken out awards in the 2020 Southern and South West Sydney training awards.

They are Campbelltown’s Maxine Colligan who was named apprentice of the year, and Picton’s Samuel Jenks, who took out the school student of the year category.

Rhonda Sampson, pictured above, was named Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year.

The trio will now progress to the state training awards.

NSW training awards celebrate the excellence of apprentices, trainees and students undertaking vocational education and training. 

Rhonda Sampson, a TAFE NSW student who operates her own graphic design business, said she was thrilled to receive the award and be recognised for her hard work.

She has completed designs for Aboriginal community groups and not-for-profits and local councils.

 “As an Aboriginal graphic designer, I strive to embody my culture in the work I produce and to be recognised for my commitment to the Aboriginal community is so special to me. 

“I’m a big ambassador for the positive transformation TAFE NSW can have in people’s lives and career and am thankful for the hands-on skills I learnt in my diploma that helped me kick start my future,” Rhonda said.

Samuel Jenks is completing his HSC at Picton High School.

“It is a great honour to win the award. I was thrilled to even be nominated so to win the award is an awesome achievement,’’ he said.

“I have really enjoyed the hands-on experience of my Certificate III in information digital media and technology and the practical knowledge that my teachers have provided. 

“It is empowering knowing I am one step closer to my dream career working in cyber security and I’m still in high school,” said Samuel pictured above.

Maxine Colligan is a TAFE NSW student who is employed by AMA Group and studied a Certificate III in Automotive Refinishing Technology.

Maxine, pictured below, said the award wasn’t just a testament to her hard work throughout her TAFE NSW course and passion towards her trade, but a reflection of all women working in non-traditional trades. 

“This award is a victory for all women in trades, who, like me, love the industry they’re working in. To be named as apprentice of the year is a very proud achievement for me. 

“I’m thankful for the dedication my TAFE NSW teachers put into the course and empowered me with the practical skills I needed to forge a career in the automotive industry.’’

NSW Tertiary Education minister Geoff Lee said that he was delighted that so many of the award winners were from TAFE NSW and that the strong results at this year’s awards we are clear demonstration of the high-quality education and training provided by Australia’s largest training provider.  

“TAFE NSW plays a critical role in shaping the careers of people across a range of important industries that are critical to the economy,’’ he said.

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