Top training talent in cool trades shine online

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

Kasey Hardy from Chinchilla, who was named the 2021 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year

An air-conditioning and refrigeration tradeswoman from Brisbane has taken out the top state award for Apprentice of the Year at the 2021 Queensland Training Awards, which this year celebrates 60 years of excellence in training.

Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer congratulated Lauren Campbell from Manly West along with the other state winners and finalists during the virtual awards ceremony.

“Lauren’s interest in refrigeration started in Year 12 when she secured work experience with AG Coombs Queensland and went on to become their first female apprentice,” Minister Farmer said.

“As a fully qualified tradesperson with the company, Lauren is recognised as a future industry leader, who has already promoted careers in heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration to other young women.

“Lauren is a deserving recipient of the 2021 Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year award.”

Minister Farmer said it was extremely important that the hard work of the state’s outstanding apprentices, trainees, students, employers, teachers and training providers was recognised.

“We know that labour shortages are a real issue across the whole state and investing in skills is a vital way to fill those gaps,” Minister Farmer said.

“I want to congratulate Kasey Hardy from Chinchilla, who was named the 2021 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year for her commitment to a traineeship in the natural gas extraction industry through the inaugural Western Downs Indigenous Traineeship program offered by Harness Energy Services and Shell QGC.

“After securing and then successfully completing her traineeship, Kasey has now gone on to study a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety with Shell QGC and is a mentor for new Indigenous trainees.

“It’s been a difficult two years for our young apprentices, trainees and students as well as our businesses and many of the finalists have been impacted by COVID-19.

“Investing in skills is at the centre of our $14.5 billion COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan, with more than $1 billion for training and skills in this year’s budget.

“That’s because we know that if you get the right training, you’re more likely to get the right job.”

Danielle Dixon from Lota has been named the 2021 VET Teacher or Trainer of the Year after working in some of Australia’s top restaurants, as well as in the MasterChef kitchen.

“As Executive Chef and Head of School at The Institute of Culinary Excellence (ICE), Danielle was instrumental in transforming ICE’s teaching methods through COVID-19, migrating to online learning, saving countless apprenticeships and careers,” Minister Farmer said.

“Danielle is passionate about addressing mental health and wellbeing issues within the hospitality sector, having created a program for her students with industry links that she’s looking to grow and expand.

“ICE took out the 2021 Small Training Provider of the Year title in recognition of providing apprentices and trainees with training delivered by some of the best chef teachers in the industry, in purpose-built training kitchens at Coorparoo and Kelvin Grove.”

The Minister also congratulated Townsville-based construction business, Core Development NQ, for being named the 2021 Small Employer of the Year.

“The family-run business is proud to have 100 per cent of its full-time staff currently undertaking nationally accredited courses to develop their skills and knowledge.

“Core Developments NQ aims to maintain a zero-turnover rate of staff by providing their employees with career pathways that meet their needs and desires.

“This type of commitment to training and workforce development will help Queensland’s economic recovery.

“I congratulate all winners, finalists and nominees from around the state for their hard work, and for helping to strengthen Queensland’s VET sector which will be vital to a post-COVID-19 recovery.”

State winners across 14 categories were announced via a special live virtual event today (Friday 8 October).

To learn more about the state winners, visit

Images of winners available here

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