South East stars named in 60th Queensland Training Awards

Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development The Honourable Di Farmer

Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer today named 32 South East region nominees among the 218 state-wide regional finalists who have been recognised for their achievements in the training system during a challenging time.

“It’s been a tough 18 months for businesses, trainers and employees who have had to adjust to different ways of working due to COVID-19,” Minister Farmer said.

“The Palaszczuk Government put investing in skills at the heart of our Economic Recovery Plan, and with over $1 billion in the recent state budget dedicated to training and skills we are delivering on that commitment.

“It’s extremely important to recognise the individuals and organisations that put training and development at the heart of what they do.

“The hard work of our outstanding apprentices, trainees, students, employers, teachers and training projects will be highlighted in the annual Queensland Training Awards, which have been celebrating the power of skills for 60 years.”

The head coach of the Gold Coast’s Burleigh Bears rugby league team Matt Foster is one of the top training talent selected as a South East regional finalist.

“Matt is a regional finalist in the VET Teacher or Trainer of the Year category for his role as a teacher at TAFE Queensland, where he developed innovative online delivery to continue teaching the practical elements of his fitness, sport and first aid courses,” Minister Farmer said.

“His successful approach was shared across TAFE Queensland Gold Coast as part of the organisation’s wellness strategy.”

“The Migrant Centre at Southport has been selected as a regional finalist in the Community Training Initiative of the Year category, for its work in building immigrants’ skills and improving their economic, social and cultural opportunities.

“The centre provides multicultural training and employment services, assisting newly arrived Australians, people from disadvantaged backgrounds and the long-term unemployed and its programs produced employment outcome rates of 77 per cent in 2020.

“Through training, Trent Hall from Eagleby has been transformed from a disengaged student to a Year 12 graduate and committed employee and has been selected as a regional finalist in two categories – Vocational Student and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year.

“In 2020, Trent completed his Certificate III in Hospitality with the help of the Preston Campbell Foundation, an organisation dedicated to supporting the aspirations of Indigenous people and continues to work in Presto’s Café at Dreamworld, Coomera.

“The regional finalists in the Employer of the Year categories include family owned business Rob Milla Electrical from Molendinar on the Gold Coast, The Darwalla Group, the poultry production company based at Mt Cotton, the Montessori Childcare and Kindergarten at Mudgeeraba, the Frizelle Sunshine Automotive group at Southport and the Scenic Rim Regional Council.

“All have been selected for their commitment to training and for establishing trades and tertiary pathways for their employees, apprentices and trainees.

“Congratulations to the regional finalists who are the skilled Queenslanders we need for our economy to continue to bounce back better.”

The winners from South East Queensland will be announced online in July with the state winners announced at a Gala Dinner which will return this year in September.

For the full list of regional finalists and further information visit

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