Friday, November 25th, 2011 - KNX National Group
Three electrical apprentices that demonstrated consistent levels of excellence throughout their training were recognised as the best in Australia at the annual Apprentice of the Year Awards held on Wednesday night (23 November 2011) at Sumac at Docklands in Melbourne.

The 2011 NECA Apprentice of the Year Awards is an opportunity for the industry to officially recognise the talent of the top apprentices across the three industry sectors of industrial, commercial/domestic and communications.

Natalie Plain, a 23-year-old apprentice from Box Hill, was judged the best apprentice in the Communications Category. The fourth-year apprentice excelled during her studies at the Box Hill Institute and during on-the-job training with data and electrical installations with DESA Australia Pty Ltd.

Thirty-one year-old Richard Styles from Launceston won the Commercial and Domestic category. Employed by Degree C, Mr Styles attended the Skills Institute in Launceston where he excelled.

Unaderra resident, Kurt Donovan, was successful in the Industrial category. The 22-year-old apprentice excelled during his studies at TAFE Illawarra in Wollongong and is currently employed by Downer EDI Engineering Power.

Chief executive officer of NECA, Mr James Tinslay, said that the judges were impressed with the development of all three winning apprentices.

“To be named Apprentice of the Year in their individual categories is something Natalie, Richard and Kurt should be very proud of,” Mr Tinslay said.

“The judges compared the academic achievements and on-the-job accomplishments from all of the submissions and decided that these three are the best performing apprentices in Australia. It is very pleasing to see a mature age and female apprentice excelling in the industry because it is possible for anyone who is committed to make a great career from the opportunities being an electrician can offer.”

The apprentice awards are also held to recognise the important role employers play in training apprentices.

“It is important to remember that it is not only the apprentices and training institutions working to build skills in our industry.

“Many businesses like DESA Australia, Degree C and Downer EDI Engineering Power engage apprentices and provide them with the support and opportunities they need to develop the practical component of their trade.

“Without the assistance of the business community apprentices would not get the on-the-job training that is so important to the electrical and communications industry,” Mr Tinslay said.