Three TasTAFE-trained students and one TasTAFE teacher will represent the State at the Australian Training Awards in November after winning Tasmanian Training Awards.

TasTAFE Outdoor Recreation Teacher Nate Welch was named VET teacher of the year. Nate has been the coordinator of the Outdoor Recreation program at TasTAFE for two years and currently teaches Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation.

Before TasTAFE, he worked as an outdoor instructor for schools across Australia and has also been a guide, trainer and operations manager for businesses in Australia and Africa. Nate has re-written the program for the outdoor recreation course and has developed a student assessment booklet that is the first of its kind in the outdoor recreation training sector.

Accepting his award Nate said that while he had never planned to be a teacher, he found it rewarding.

“Until you do it I don’t think you can really relate to the connection that you have with students and the difference you can make in a student’s life by some of the stuff that you do. I think that’s been one of the most rewarding things of my journey in this field,” Nate said.

Vocational Student of the Year Carla Wilcox, completed a Certificate III in Disability at TasTAFE in 2015.

She was hesitant to return to study but thrived in the course and found paid employment with Coastal Residential Services. She is now undertaking the Certificate IV course and wants to build her qualifications, job skills and knowledge so that she can eventually move into management in the sector.

Accepting her award Carla said she had fallen into an industry she had nothing but passion for.

“I really want to create opportunities to validate and empower people with disability,” Carla said.

Aboriginal Student of the Year, Jarrod Edwards, is employed at the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre as a land management supervisor and completed Certificates III and IV in Conservation and Land Management at TasTAFE. He chose this area of study because of his Aboriginal heritage, his love of nature and his desire to conserve the environment.

Jarrod’s TasTAFE qualifications complement his university studies where he is undertaking a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in History, Geography and Environmental Studies.

Drew Charlton, who completed a Certificate III in Carpentry at TasTAFE in 2015 was named Apprentice of the Year.

Drew did his apprenticeship at Hobart building firm Cordwell Lane where he now mentors and works closely with other apprentices and shows potential to be not only a leader in his field, but a great mentor and trainer for apprentices.

TasTAFE’s Manager, Centre of Vocational Preparation and English Language Services, Jon Grant was also recognised on the night receiving the Trevor Leo medal for outstanding services to vocational education and training (VET).