Noa Fletcher wins prestigious training award

Queensland Training Awards
Acorn East director Rachel Lynch and Brooke Bowden at the Queensland Training Awards in Bundaberg.

Former Bundaberg State High School captain Noa Fletcher was named Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student of the year at the North Coast Region Queensland Training Awards in Bundaberg on Saturday.

The atmosphere was terrific at the Multiplex with four finalists from the Bundaberg Region.

The event provided an opportunity to showcase the tremendous achievements of the region’s apprentices, trainees, vocational students, trainers/teachers, employers, community-based organisations and community training initiatives.

The North Coast Region covers local government areas of Moreton, Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Gympie, Fraser Coast and Bundaberg.

The Multiplex was crammed with an excited crowd waiting to hear who had won an award.

Much-loved actor and children’s entertainer, best known for his role of Playschool, Jay Laga'aia delighted the crowd as he MCed the evening with his well-known charm.

Four finalists from the Bundaberg Region included:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year finalist, Noa Fletcher
  • Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year finalist, Brooke Bowden
  • Equity VET Student of the Year finalist, Debbie Wallis
  • Medium Employer of the Year finalist, Acorn East

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year was won by Bundaberg's Noa Fletcher, who is now employed as a sea ranger with Gidarjil Development Corporation Limited.

Accepting the award Noa said he was very excited and it was a great pleasure to be nominated along with other trainees, and it was a thrill to accept the award from one of his childhood heroes from Playschool.

Queensland Training Awards
Queensland Training Awards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year winner Noa Fletcher with Gidarjil Development Corporation Limited Kerry Blackman.

“I started my traineeship in January 2018 and it’s taken me to new level and I have grown not just personally myself, but as a person in the community that people can come up to me and ask questions about country as I am a ranger as well with Gidarjil,” Noa said.

Noa said he was school captain at Bundaberg State High School in 2016, which was a big milestone for him, but he wasn’t sure where he would go after his education until he was given the traineeship opportunity.

“I think I would have still been studying with Steps to become a teacher in the performing arts and I will now use Gidarjil as a stepping stone to gain the life skills and become a teacher,” he said.

“I would recommend to other young people to take that leap of faith and don’t hesitate when you do, as that hesitation may alter where you go.”

Gidarjil’s Kerry Blackman was proud to sponsor the award and said it was fulfilling to help by providing a pathway through training and employee for the Indigenous youth in the Bundaberg Region.

Childcare a training hub

As a proud father-of-eight Jay is the Queensland Government's The Early Years Count Ambassador and is a passionate advocate for early childhood education and early literacy, which was fitting for the Bundaberg finalist for the Medium Employer of the Year, sponsored by SkillCentred Queensland Inc, Bundaberg East Acorn Childcare.

Acorn East director Rachel Lynch said it was important to take on apprentices and trainees as it gave them the chance to learn new skills, and she said Acorn East was also honoured to be recognised at by The Queensland Training Awards.

Also from Acorn East and a finalist for the Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year award was Brooke Bowden, who said it was a privilege to be among the 30 plus finalist.

“Five years ago I took on Brooke when she was on work experience and now she is here tonight as a finalist,” Rachel said.

“We are both just really proud to be here tonight – it’s amazing,” Brooke said.

The Queensland Training Awards is an event that acknowledges everyone involved in vocational education and training in the region, including training providers, community based organisations, employers, schools, families, friends and the wider community.

The winners are now automatically selected as state finalists and go on to compete at the state awards later this year.

Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman said Samuel Liddle from Nambour took home the title of Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year as one of the 11 winners at the regional final of the 58th Queensland Training Awards.

“Samuel describes his apprenticeship as the lifeline he needed to turn his life around,” Ms Fentiman said.

“Through his training and employment with Gateway Constructions he has found a passion for his trade, as well as skills and experience that he can use to give back to his community.

“Samuel completed his Certificate III in Carpentry in 2019 and is working towards obtaining his builder’s license.

“Samuel will now join the winners from six other regional Queensland Training Awards to become finalists in the state Queensland Training Awards with winners announced in September.

“All of our high calibre regional winners represent a wide range of industries and occupations, from dental, electricians, metal fabrication specialists and hairdressing salons, to disability support organisations and big businesses.

“Being selected as a regional winner recognises their outstanding contribution to the state’s growth and economy and they should be proud of their achievements so far.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to supporting training and skills development for all Queenslanders.”

The Queensland Training Awards highlights the excellence in the state’s training sector and supports the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to skilling Queenslanders, especially for the high-demand industries of the future.

The 11 regional award categories are Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year; Bob Marshman Trainee of the Year; Vocational Student of the Year; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year; School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year; VET Teacher or Trainer of the Year; Equity VET Student of the Year; Community Training Initiative of the Year; and Small, Medium and Large Employer of the Year.

The Queensland Training Awards State Gala Dinner will be held in Brisbane on 14 September. The awards are run by the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training,with the support of regional and state sponsors.

Regional winners

Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year

Samuel Liddle – Nambour

Bob Marshman Trainee of the Year

Cardiah Stanley – Aroona

Vocational Student of the Year

Yolandie Weir – Bokarina

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year

Noa Fletcher – Thabeban

School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year

James Carroll – Narangbah

VET Teacher or Trainer of the Year

Raymond Wallbank – Cooroibah

Equity VET Student of the Year

Adam McKillop – Pialba

Community Training Initiative of the Year

Deception Bay Community Youth Programs – Deception Bay

Small Employer of the Year

Accelerate Auto Electrics and Air Conditioning – Maroochydore

Medium Employer of the Year

Cavalier Engineering – Gympie

Large Employer of the Year

Gympie Regional Council – Gympie

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