A TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga student and mature-aged electrical apprentice with Snowy Hydro has described as an “amazing honour” his announcement as Apprentice of the Year at the 2018 Australian Training Awards Presentation Dinner held at the International Conference Centre in Sydney.
The national awards represent the peak of achievement for individuals, businesses and registered training organisations in the vocational education and training (VET) sector.
Michael Edwards, 39, who lives at Corryong near the NSW/Victoria border, took a punt and changed careers in his late 30s after a decade-and-a-half as a mechanic.
His inspiring story offers hope to all older workers or those dreaming of a career change but thinking it might be too late to start again.
“It’s an amazing honour and a privilege to represent at a national level, let alone win,” Mr Edwards said.
“I’ve had such a strong support network that I couldn’t have reached this level without.
“My wife’s love, support and time-management skills have been invaluable.
“I’ve also been fortunate to have an employer in Snowy Hydro that shares my determination to get every ounce of ability out of their employees.
“TAFE NSW has also been an incredible support. It’s such a dynamic learning environment and it really inspired me to achieve at this level.”
Snowy Hydro CEO Paul Broad paid tribute to Mr Edwards’ achievement, describing him as a “humble hero”.
'Everyone at Snowy Hydro is thrilled for Mick and we could not be prouder of his achievements. It is fitting recognition for someone who is a quiet achiever - deeply humble about his contribution and positive impact he has on everyone around him,” Mr Broad said.
"Mick is a valued member of the Snowy Team, his preparedness to share his knowledge, experience and skills with others lifts the whole team.”
TAFE NSW Regional General Manager Kerry Penton congratulated Mr Edwards on his landmark victory.
“Michael is an inspiration and this award is testament to his talent, determination and work ethic,” Ms Penton said.
“It’s also a reflection of the wonderful support of his employer Snowy Hydro Limited and the exceptional training provided to him by TAFE NSW.
“I have no doubt Michael will go on to forge a highly successful careew and will be a great ambassador for TAFE NSW,”
Mr Edwards has won this award at both the Training Services NSW Regional and NSW Training Awards events, which meant he progressed to the Australian Training Awards.